Hit-and-Run Driver Critically Injures Woman Jogging in Prospect Park

The crash occurred at a time of day and location where private motorists are not allowed in the park.

The approximate location where a driver critically injured a 51-year-old jogger this morning. Photo: Google Maps
The approximate location where a driver critically injured a 51-year-old jogger this morning. Photo: Google Maps

A hit-and-run driver struck and critically injured a woman jogging in Prospect Park at around 5 a.m. this morning.

The 51-year-old woman was running on the West Drive just north of the tennis courts when the driver of a black vehicle hit her from behind, according to police. She was rushed to Maimonides Medical Center, and remains there in critical but stable condition.

Cars are not permitted on the West Drive at any time of the day, although city workers — usually police or Parks Department staff — still drive there.

The East Drive of the park is the only part open to motor vehicle traffic, and only from 7 to 9 a.m. on weekdays. In October, after a car-free summer trial, the city announced that private car traffic would not longer be allowed on the East Drive either, but that doesn’t take effect until January 2.

Despite the restrictions on driving in the park, entrances do not have permanent design features to keep cars out, and scofflaw drivers can get around the fences in place. Police are also known to use the park loop as a shortcut.

This morning’s crash occurred within the jurisdiction of the NYPD’s 78th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Brad Lander.

  • Gowanus Kings

    The prevalence and high speed of civilian vehicles (or unmarked cop cars) in the park is completely unnerving. This weekend one was driving the wrong way down the hill on the East Drive. Cops and their cars are out of control!

  • Janet Gottlieb

    One wonders why Prospect Park doesn’t have more permanent barriers at vehicle entrances than the movable police barricades now in use. The PPA need go no further than Central Park to see some.

  • MatthewEH
  • Guest

    What a nightmare; poor woman. I commute through CP and it never ceases to amaze me that there are virtually no restrictions to access to cars at the southern end, at 110th St, at 5th Ave & 90th, and am sure there are similar points on the west side too… There’s a lot of private car driving in the park and it seems NYPD and park staff feel they have the right to drive in and park there. Lots of private vehicles always parked on the path just south of the reservoir.

  • Vooch

    Agreed – gov’t employees seem to believe the park paths are okay for 25 MPH

  • JarekFA

    They aren’t doing the thing that they did in the past where they’d open up the 6th ave entrance for Holiday shopping hours?

  • Center Drive is another pretty dangerous spot as there are a lot of blind curves and speeding drivers, usually all with tinted windows, a sure sign that it’s cops. Early in the morning it’s common to see people entering from Prospect Park Southwest and cutting across to get to GAP. Another sure sign it’s someone going to the police precinct.

    This needs to stop.

  • MatthewEH

    Not that I’ve seen; I think it’s just been the year-round traffic pattern in Central Park. I could be mistaken.

  • Isaac B

    NYPD: “A 51 year old woman ran into a black car in Prospect Park early this morning, causing it to disappear. The perpetrator is being held at Maimonides Medical Center. Police are stepping up efforts to ticket runners in the park.”

  • jeff

    Luckily, the NYPD knows just how to respond to this crime: start ticketing bicyclists in Prospect Park.

  • Janet Gottlieb

    It’s unlikely they’re all Quakers 🙂

  • There only could’ve been two reasons this driver was in the park at that hour.. They could have been confused/drunk or they could’ve felt they were entitled to be there at that hour because of their association with law enforcement or a city agency that manages the park. Either way I hope after rush-hour traffic is permanently banned for the park additional signage and enforcement is created so that more people don’t get hurt or worse.

  • stairbob

    I was at a kids soccer game by the ballfields in Prospect Park this fall and I heard someone driving a Prospect Park security vehicle tell a child not to lie on the ground “so close to the road”. The “road” in question, was, of course, the paved walking path between 9th Street and the Nethermead. I did speak up to say that the path is not, in fact, a road at all, but it seemed to go in one ear and out the other.

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