Cops Bust Van Driver Who Killed Gravesend Pedestrian and Rainbow Bagel Legend

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams visited the spot where Francine LaBarbara was run down and killed on Tuesday in Gravesend. Photo: Click Tom DeVito.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams visited the spot where Francine LaBarbara was run down and killed on Tuesday in Gravesend. Photo: Click Tom DeVito.

SB Donation NYC header 2Police have made a quick arrest of the hit-and-run driver they say ran over and killed a 57-year-old pedestrian in Gravesend on Tuesday.

Susan Liebowitz, 55, is facing charges of leaving the scene of a crash, failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care stemming from the Tuesday morning crash that killed Francine LaBarbara, a 57-year-old single mother of two and marketing director of The Bagel Store in Williamsburg, famous for its rainbow bagel.

Police say that Liebowitz was driving a white Ford Econoline van on West Second Street at around 8 a.m. when she tried to make a left turn onto Avenue Y, hitting and killing LaBarbara, who was in the crosswalk. The intersection has a stop sign, which are often safer than traffic lights, so it is unclear whether the suspect blew through the sign or was simply driving so recklessly that she did not see LaBarbara.

Liebowitz then fled, but was later caught thanks to surveillance footage and witness testimony, a police spokeswoman told Streetsblog.

At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Borough President Eric Adams called for a redesign of the street, more speed cameras and pedestrian bulb-outs for safety.

It’s a dangerous stretch. Since January, 2017, 11 people have been injured in just the eight blocks of Avenue Y between Shell Road and Ocean Parkway.

LaBarbara did not invent the rainbow bagel, but her co-workers said she played a huge role in popularizing the gay pride baked good.

View this post on Instagram

This is off the emotional cuff iam very very sorry to have to say goodbye to a very old friend and sister from another mother. Francine labarbara whom I think everyone knows 🙂 She is my biggest fan she saw the vision and loved talking about the original rainbow bagel more then I do lol And so much more then that she loved so much working with all the media and social grammers from all over the globe. She worked tirelessly seeking every opportunity to further the work she believed in with all her heart. As a single mom she loves her boys more then anything in this world They are the reason she worked so hard so she could be a shining example to them that at any age or whatever gender or terrible situation you are in anyone can rise up and accomplish what ever there vision is We love you Francine always 🙏 peace be with you – We ask that all media be respectful in our time of mourning . #stopatstop🚫signs . https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/12/11/brooklyn-fatal-hit-and-run

A post shared by The Bagel Store (@thebagelstore) on

In a statement, State Senator-elect Andrew Gounardes cheered LaBarbara’s marketing exercise.

“Her contribution to our community in Brooklyn and to the entire LBTQ+ community as the visionary behind the rainbow-colored bagel will never be forgotten,” Gounardes said.

Our December Donation Drive continues!
SB Donation NYC header 2Our December Donation Drive continues!

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

In Deadly Week for Pedestrians, No Consequences for Drivers

|
This has been a deadly week for New York City pedestrians, with three New Yorkers losing their lives in traffic collisions in three days, and another in critical condition. On Monday, an SUV driver hit and killed two-year-old Shamira Zaman in Queens Village as she crossed the street to greet an uncle. The NYPD told […]

The Weekly Carnage

|
The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (5 Killed Since Oct. 3; 160 This Year*) Chinatown: Woman in Her 70s Struck on Canal; Driver “Didn’t See” Victim; No Charges (Streetsblog) […]