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Ben Kallos

Cab Driver Kills Woman in 19th Precinct, Where Police Brag About Seizing E-Bikes

A cab driver reportedly dragged 80-year-old Barbara Horn for half a block on Third Avenue in the 19th Precinct, where police barely enforce failure to yield and speeding. Video still: WCBS

A yellow cab driver killed a senior in a crosswalk on the Upper East Side last Friday. It was the second time this year that a cab driver killed someone in a crosswalk in the 19th Precinct, where NYPD and City Council Member Ben Kallos have declared cyclists and delivery workers on electric-assist bikes as a leading traffic safety threat.

Barbara Horn, 80, was crossing Third Avenue at E. 70th Street in the crosswalk at around 5:45 p.m. when Syed Ulla hit her with a Toyota wagon while turning left from 70th onto the avenue, NYPD told WABC and the Daily News:

“He hit her and dragged her. He ran her over,” said one witness, who only gave her name as Susan. “She was a pretty little thing. Beautiful lady. Her whole side was smashed up."

WABC reported that Ulla “dragged [Horn] halfway up the block before stopping.”

Horn, who lived near the crash site, was declared dead at New York Presbyterian Hospital. “She was always so kind to everybody,” a doorman at Horn’s apartment building told the News. “Always laughing."

Police arrested Ulla, 49, and charged him with violating the victim’s right of way.

According to crash data tracked by Streetsblog, of 18 pedestrians killed by drivers in the 19th Precinct since the 2014 launch of the city’s Vision Zero program, 11 were age 65 or over. Ten victims were struck inside or within a few feet of a crosswalk by a driver making a turn.

On an average day, the 19th Precinct summonses around five motorists for violating a pedestrian’s right of way, and tickets just one speeding driver. Meanwhile, as motorists continue killing people, the precinct has made a high-profile show of seizing electric bikes from delivery workers, with encouragement from Kallos.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission told WCBS Ulla’s license to drive a cab was suspended pending the outcome of the case. Despite Vision Zero laws intended to get dangerous cab drivers off the streets, cabbies who injure and kill people remain in good standing with the TLC unless charges are filed against them, even when victims were walking or biking with the right of way.

At least six people killed walking in the 19th Precinct since 2014 were struck by TLC-licensed drivers. Counting Friday's crash, NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance filed charges in two of those cases.

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