UPDATED: IT’S FIFTEEN NOW: Woman Cyclist Killed in Bushwick

This is the moment when Devra Freelander was killed by a cement truck driver.
This is the moment when Devra Freelander was killed by a cement truck driver.

Updated | A cyclist was killed by a cement truck in Bushwick on Monday at around 12:20 p.m., police said.

According to updated information from police, 29-year-old Devra Freelander was riding northbound on Bushwick Avenue when she was struck by the 70-year-old driver of a 2017 Mack cement truck that had been traveling eastbound on Boerum Street. EMS said Freelander died at the scene.

Other information was not available, police said. The investigation is ongoing. A video obtained by Streetsblog suggested that the truck driver had the light — but also showed the truck driver moving at a fast speed.

The Daily News identified the driver as Alan Vega of the company, United Transit Mix, which is near the crash scene. The company’s owner Tony Mastronardi told the paper that he blamed the cyclist — and all cyclists, apparently.

“Too many bikes, too many bikes on the road,” said Mastronardi.

It is unclear why a cement truck was on Boerum Street in the first place. The roadway is not labeled as a truck route on city maps. Locals told the Daily News that trucks are often speeding in the residential area.

The 90th Precinct does a very poor job of enforcing truck route violations, which is a particular problem in the neighborhood because the eastern part of the precinct is largely industrial.

Yet through May this year, 90th Precinct cops wrote just five tickets to truckers operating outside their legal routes, according to NYPD statistics. Exactly zero tickets were written in all of May.

In 2018, the precinct seemed to be a bit more aggressive, writing 101 truck route violation tickets between January and October, stats show.

Monday’s victim is the 15th cyclist to die on the roads this year, up from 10 all of last year.

Transportation Alternatives’ Interim co-Executive Director Marco Conner said the latest cyclist death — the third in a week — shows that “Vision Zero is in a state of emergency and Mayor de Blasio is in denial about his signature program faltering under his neglect.”

Conner said that the mayor’s signature street safety initiative has shown promise — but “today we are in a crisis.” His group demanded that de Blasio “immediately task DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg with creating an emergency response plan worthy of this crisis that can be implemented as soon as possible.” If not, the City Council should pass a “Vision Zero State of Emergency Omnibus Bill to protect walking and biking New Yorkers.”

This story was updated at 3:50 p.m. and will be updated when more information comes in.

  • muffinstumps

    I’m reading on the Citizen app that it was a woman, and a pedestrian (not a cyclist) that was killed. I know this is a breaking story, so I’m not sure which is accurate. Either way it’s unforgivable. And naturally, the comments are on a tirade about bike lanes.

  • muffinstumps

    (even though there is no bike lane on Bushwick Ave)

  • Zach Katz

    Bushwick Ave is a death trap. Could easily be one lane in each direction, with protected bike lanes on both sides.

  • Zero Vision

    New Yorkers: DO SOMETHING!

    Mayor de Blasio: “Vision Zero is working.”

    Polly Trottenberg: “Please know that DOT is very sad.”

    James O’Neill: “Cool! Another chance to ticket cyclists.”

  • mike.,.

    And naturally, the comments are on a tirade about bike lanes.

    the one comment (other than yours) about bike lanes is a tirade?

  • Tooscrapps

    Pretty sure they mean the comments on the Citizen app.

  • HPF

    Citizen app is never to be trusted. It was indeed a female cyclist. I have a pic.

  • Blwndrpwrmlk96

    One was traveling north on Bushwick Av, and the other east on Boerum St. If this is true, someone broke the law right there. We gotta find the details.

  • muffinstumps

    no, on the citizen app.

  • muffinstumps

    I did, thank you. I edited my original comment to reflect that.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Another truck.

    If a cement truck gets stuck in traffic, and doesn’t get to the pour in time, the cement starts to set in the cylinder. The driver is stuck chipping it out. If it happens enough times, the driver is fired.

    Not saying that’s what happened, but it is what comes to mind.

  • i lived on Boerum St for 4 years. Cement trucks have a base just east of Bushwick ave on Johnson ave, but Johnson is one way westbound street west of Bushwick ave. So all the trucks come down Graham ave, take a left on Boerum, cut up bushwick place to get to their base on Johnson just east of bushwick ave. They always fly down the street. Boerum and Humbodlt is also a very dangerous intersection and I’ve witnessed many accidents, as southbound humboldt has no stop sign and there is very poor visibility for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.

  • “It is unclear why a cement truck was on Boerum Street in the first place. The roadway is not labeled as a truck route on city maps.”

    Imagine if a fraction of the effort that went into confiscating e-bikes and ticketing/arresting their riders had been directed at keeping truck drivers on legal routes. Is there anyone at City Hall who can explain the mayor’s negligent obsession with e-bikes? His lack of understanding about how Vision Zero works continues to cost lives.

  • AMH

    This is fucking terrifying. The absolute worst part is that no one in a position to do anything seems to care. The death toll, along with the barricades along my usual route (the HRG) really makes me wonder whether it’s worth riding anymore.

  • muffinstumps

    I’m thinking they were returning to home base – there’s a big lot with cement trucks a few blocks past this – on Boerum, between White and Bogart. I take that route frequently.

  • T

    yes! please put bike lanes on Bushwick Ave.

  • Bike rider

    Mayor’s office staff remain quite since there is no leadership and a bunch of novice staffers. Emma Wolf the chief of staff should be fired.

  • Mandy Duckeater

    Maybe its time to eliminate the industrial zone protections in the In-Place East Williamsburg Industrial Park. Luxury glass apartment towers might not protect blue-collar jobs but they produces many fewer dangerous trucks taking short cuts through residential streets.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There’s a video out. Looks like cyclist error was a contributing factor, unfortunately.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Maybe not. Having the cement for those luxury apartment towers delivered from Pennsylvania wouldn’t solve the problem. I doubt there is very much industrial activity left in NYC that isn’t related to local demand.

  • Maggie

    I’m done with giving Polly Trottenberg a pass on endless delays and half measures in getting safe streets implemented. She runs DOT and these streets reflect what she’s prioritized and fought for over the past 5+ years. The obstruction of bike lanes, the absurd demonization of the hardworking immigrant delivery cyclists who are absolutely vital to NYC’s restaurants, the dirty street camera at the site of a 20-year-old’s death by truck in midtown Manhattan, the cramped and crush loaded Brooklyn Bridge with no bikability in sight, and the profusion of illegal 53 foot trailers everywhere is all her legacy. To prevent the next tragedy and to put NYC on a remotely sustainable path, climate wise, we need DOT to step up and do much more than Trottenberg has been doing.

  • Joe R.

    A much bigger problem in warmer weather like this. Concrete sets much faster in higher temperatures:

    Temperature Approximate Setting Time (hours)
    100°F (38°C) 1-2/3
    90°F (32°C) 2-2/3
    80°F (27°C) 4
    70°F (21°C) 6
    60°F (16°C) 8
    50°F (10°C) 11
    40°F (4°C) 14
    30°F (-1°C) 19
    20°F (-7°C) Set will not occur

    Source: https://www.engr.psu.edu/ce/courses/ce584/concrete/library/materials/Admixture/Link-settime.htm

  • Cold Shoaler

    source?

  • relevantjeff

    Maybe an Upper West Side banker should call in to his Ask The Mayor segment on Friday to complain about reckless drivers and needless cyclist deaths.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Saw it on TV. Not sure what station.

  • Mimi

    It shows her riding on the sidewalk but doesn’t show who had the green light. Do you mean that the contributing factor was that she came from the sidewalk?

  • Bike rider

    Calls and emails to Marcus Carion the head of mayors office of constituent services are all ignored. I want to know what the mayors office has to say. When will Emma Wolf be fired consistently doing nothing on the mayors office.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Yes, and hit the side of the truck.

    I guess it’s good that after all the years of victim blaming, the media didn’t choose to emphasize that. Perhaps out of fear of another video emerging showing the cement truck ran the light, as has happened over and over again.

  • And 41 pedestrians .
    And 41 pedestrians
    And 41 pedestrians

    Please STREETSBLOG don’t make us feel you forgot about us.

  • Sassojr

    And 9 motorcyclists

  • Sassojr

    “A video obtained by Streetsblog suggested that the truck driver had the light”

    I highly doubt Streetsblog would say this if the driver didn’t have the green light…

  • AMH

    My questions after seeing the video:

    – Was the truck authorized to drive on that street?
    – Were all of the parked vehicles blocking sightlines a factor?

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