Adrian Blanc Was the Second Person Killed on the Same Union Square Block in 5 Years

Blanc was hit Tuesday as he crossed Union Square East at 14th Street. In 2012, at the other end of the block, Harry Robinson killed Roxana Buta with a DOT truck.

E.14th Street at Union Square East. Photo: Google Maps
E.14th Street at Union Square East. Photo: Google Maps

Police have located the SUV driven by the motorist who fatally injured Adrian Blanc near the southeast corner of Union Square and fled the scene, but the driver has yet to be identified.

[Update 1/3/18: Xavier Ward, 23, was charged with leaving the scene, a class D felony, and misdemeanor aggravated unlicensed operation for the crash that killed Adrian Blanc, according to court documents obtained via the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. Streetsblog will follow the case against Ward as it develops.]

Blanc was hit at around 1 a.m. Tuesday as he crossed Union Square East at 14th Street. Video showed the driver turning left from 14th Street when he struck the victim, stopped the vehicle, and continued north on Union Square East toward Park Avenue.

Adrian Blanc
Adrian Blanc

Blanc, 34, sustained severe head injuries and died the next day, according to the Daily News.

The News reported that Blanc, who lived in Brooklyn, came to the U.S. from Venezuela and over the course of roughly 10 years went from washing dishes to a position as head chef at a Manhattan restaurant. He became a U.S. citizen this year and was engaged to be married, the News said.

The Jeep SUV was a Zipcar rental, according to the News.

Five years ago, at the other end of the block where Blanc was struck, Harry Robinson ran over and killed 21-year-old Roxana Buta with a DOT truck as he turned right from 14th Street onto Broadway.

Robinson was not charged by NYPD or Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance for leaving the scene. Robinson’s failure to yield and careless driving summonses were dismissed in traffic court, and he kept his job at DOT.

Yesterday the City Council passed a bill to set up a hit-and-run text alert system for severe crashes. According to data cited by the News, there were 44,865 hit-and-runs in fiscal 2016, resulting in just 510 arrests, meaning 99 percent of NYC motorists who flee crash scenes are never penalized.

  • Danny G

    Wait – turning left from 14th Street onto Union Square East? As in a left turn that not one, not two, but three signs indicate is prohibited? https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7344936,-73.9900491,3a,78.4y,124.21h,85.96t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s7BZquAesoAoqr1atjVxdtg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

  • Ken Dodd

    Yes I think it was reported from the get go that it was an illegal turn.

  • Ken Dodd

    I don’t understand what’s keeping them from finding this scumbag. Presumably they must have had to register an account with Zipcar and use a credit card on their account and pass whatever other security checks a company like that would enforce to ensure that their cars don’t get stolen or whatever. So surely if someone in a Zipcar kills someone and takes off, the recovery of the offending car should be enough for Zipcar to give them a name and address. Maybe the driver was a cop or someone with links to top brass.

  • r

    These tragic deaths are another argument for the People Way and other traffic calming in the area. 14th Street should be free of private cars from river to river and Broadway should be turned into a linear park as far south as possible. There’s no need for dangerous private automobile traffic in this part of the city.

  • r

    They probably have to nail down with absolute certainty who was driving at the time this happened. I would imagine all kinds of drivers – not just Zip Car drivers – come up with BS excuses to try to wiggle out of consequences when they kill. “Someone took my card and rented a car without me knowing!” “I was just about to report the car stolen!” Etc.

  • snobum

    And the green lights are straight arrows.

  • NYCyclist

    Wow, the NYPD has a 99% failure rate in hit-and-run cases. Justice denied!

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NYPD: No Video of Driver Who Killed Roxana Sorina Buta

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The woman killed by a hit-and-run truck driver at Union Square last week has been identified as Roxana Sorina Buta. Last Thursday at approximately 1:30 a.m., Buta, 21, was walking east across Broadway at 14th Street, in the crosswalk and with the light, when an eastbound dump truck driver made a right turn and ran her […]