Two More Deaths Bring a Bloody End to a Bad Year for NYC Pedestrians
Two more pedestrians were killed by drivers in the waning hours of 2018 — a year that saw an increase in pedestrian deaths despite declining fatalities for cyclists and motorists overall.
In the first of the two Dec. 31 incidents, police say Long Island resident Vitaliana Garcia Gavilan, 43, drove her 2008 Chevy Equinox into a pedestrian at around 12:45 p.m. on busy 37th Avenue at 81st Street in Jackson Heights — a commercial strip distinguished entirely by its profligate (and rarely enforced) illegal- and double-parking.
According to police, Garcia Gavilan was traveling westbound on the commercial strip when she tried to turn right onto 81st Street. That’s where she struck the pedestrian, whose name was not released. The pedestrian was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where she died.
Earlier today, a driver failed to exercise due care at 37 Ave & 81 St @NYPD115Pct wherein she hit and killed a pedestrian who had the right of way in a crosswalk. The driver was arrested for fail to yield to a pedestrian and driving with a suspended NYS driver's license. #NYPD pic.twitter.com/rwWxgXE9u3
— NYPD Highway (@NYPDHighway) January 1, 2019
Garcia Gavilan remained on the scene, but cops quickly determined that she was driving without a license. Later, she was also charged with failure to yield and failure to use due care causing a serious injury, in addition to the unlicensed driving charge.
Hours later on Staten Island, a 91-year-old man was run down on Victory Boulevard near Westcott Boulevard by the driver of a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta.
Cops say the driver remained on the scene of the 5:23 p.m. crash. The pedestrian, Nabil Hakim, was taken to Richmond University Medical Center, where he died. There were no immediate charges, police said.
Those two late-year deaths bring the total of pedestrian fatalities to 114 in unofficial statistics — an increase of 7.5 percent over last year’s 106 pedestrians killed on the roads of New York City. Overall, road deaths appeared to be on target to be below 200 for the first time in the Age of the Automobile. As of midnight, it appeared that 199 people overall were killed on the roads.
Queens, however, had the highest number of pedestrian deaths of any borough, statistics show.
New hed: Queens Still Deadly for Pedestrians
-58.3% decline in cycling deaths vs. 2017;
-38% decline citywide in motorist deaths;
-But Queens saw 71 pedestrian traffic deaths in 2018, a 14.5% increase from 2017.
And we still let Queens CBs kill traffic calming projects, why? https://t.co/4KjJQ8XBL1
— Steve Vaccaro (@BicyclesOnly) December 30, 2018