Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Carnage

Relatives of Senior Killed by Staten Island Driver Not Satisfied With NYPD Victim-Blaming

Jewett Avenue at Coale Avenue. Photo: Google Maps

A motorist fatally struck 68-year-old Margherita "Rita" Palumbo in the Staten Island neighborhood of Westerleigh last week. NYPD filed no charges and put responsibility on the victim. But available information suggests the victim may have had the right of way, and Palumbo's family is seeking more details on the driver's actions before the collision.

At approximately 7 a.m. on November 1, a 52-year-old man traveling southbound on Jewett Avenue hit Palumbo with a Toyota pickup truck.

From the Advance:

As the Toyota was approaching Coale Avenue, the vehicle struck Palumbo as she was attempting to cross from the east side of the street mid-block on Jewett, police said.

The driver, whose identity was withheld, was not charged or ticketed. NYPD's phrasing gives the impression that the victim was jaywalking, though that may not have been the case.

Coale meets Jewett at a T intersection with unmarked crosswalks, the type of crossing where state law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians.

Palumbo, a native of Naples who was picking up an Italian-language newspaper when she was struck, sustained “catastrophic” injuries to her head and body, the Advance reported. She died at Richmond University Medical Center hours after the crash.

While Vision Zero-era NYPD typically discloses cherry-picked details, often proven incorrect, that shift blame to people killed by drivers, police practically never mention driver speed.

The Advance says Palumbo’s loved ones “want police to investigate” the role of the driver's speed in the crash. "If he was speeding, we just want to know," said Anna Palermo, Palumbo's sister.

"The family has been told that she was captured on surveillance video running across the street," the Advance reported, "which they regard as better than moving slowly." However, if Palumbo ran into the driver's path, and he wasn't speeding, under the law she might not have had the right of way.

NYPD should release the video it obtained as soon as possible to resolve the legal ambiguity. But as a rule, NYPD shields crash information from the public, and even victims’ families.

Margherita Palumbo was killed in the 120th Precinct, where officers have ticketed 842 speeding drivers in 2017, and in the City Council district represented by safe streets truther Steve Matteo.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Map: How Did Community Boards Vote on ‘City of Yes’ Housing Plan

With most of the community board recommendations in, Streetsblog mapped where residents are saying "yes" to more housing and less parking.

July 22, 2024

What a Surprise! Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause Helps Rich Suburban Drivers

Gov. Hochul's "little guys" certainly have big wallets. Meanwhile, the rest of us suffer with declining subway service and buses that are slower than walking. Thanks, Kathy.

July 22, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Congestion Kamala Edition

My guess is that everyone is going to be talking about President Harris today, but don't blow off the livable streets news, which overlaps.

July 22, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Hochul’s Fantasy World Edition

The governor has gone off the deep end. Plus other news.

July 19, 2024

Speaker Adams: Council May Not Use its ‘Sammy’s Law’ Power to Lower Speed Limits

The Council may not lower the speed limit, even though it fought so hard to get that very right from the state legislature.

July 19, 2024
See all posts