No Charges for Driver Who Ran Over a Woman — Twice — In a Crosswalk

The driver made a right turn from Ninth Avenue onto W. 17th Street when he struck 31-year-old Firstess Earth Crosby, who died from her injuries months later on July 22.
The driver made a right turn from Ninth Avenue onto W. 17th Street when he struck 31-year-old Firstess Earth Crosby, who died from her injuries months later on July 22.

Another pedestrian is dead in an already bloody week in an already very bloody year — and, yet again, the truck driver who killed her inside a marked crosswalk has not been charged.

Police say that 31-year-old Firstess Earth Crosby died on Monday as a result of severe injuries she suffered on Feb. 28 when a truck driver ran over her inside a marked crosswalk near Ninth Avenue and W. 17th Street in Manhattan. The 28-year-old driver of the 2016 Peterbilt truck had been heading south on Ninth Avenue when he made a right turn onto 17th Street and “struck the pedestrian while in the crosswalk with the front bumper.” 

Crosby fell to the ground, and the driver again ran over her with “the rear wheels of the vehicle,” police said.

Oddly, the driver was not issued summonses at the scene, and has not since been charged in relation to Crosby’s death. Police declined to answer several questions about the driver, including why he was traveling off a truck route or whether he was on his phone or was distracted by loud music or by another passenger inside the car. The department’s Collision Investigation Squad is still investigating the five-month-old incident.

Crosby, who lived very close to where she was killed, had been taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition, but she never left the medical center. She died Monday.

Crosby was the 117th person killed on New York roadways this year and the 59th pedestrian, according to Department of Transportation data through July 23 — fatalities that are up 16 percent and 7 percent respectively. Since last June, there have been 19 crashes at the intersection of Ninth Avenue and W. 17th Street, resulting in one cyclist injury and two pedestrian injuries. Construction vehicles and trucks are common in the area, though 17th Street is not a marked truck route.

Crosby’s death came one day before two cyclists were killed, one in Greenpoint and one in Staten Island. Those two crashes raised the death toll for cyclists to 17 for the year — seven more than were killed all of last year. At this point last year, eight cyclists had been killed, so the 2019 death toll represents a 112-percent increase.

Despite city streets awash in blood, a Queens community board member made headlines last week for saying at a community meeting that pedestrians “deserve to get run over” if they cross the street while on their phones and for calling Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative “a joke.”

The comments by Kim Ohanian — who works for the city Department of Environmental Protection — has led to calls for her to be fired from her job as well as from the community board. Neither Ohanian nor her political patron, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, has returned calls.

The number of cyclist deaths will likely increase in the coming days. On Wednesday morning, an SUV driver critically wounded a 28-year-old cyclist in Queens. And a Citi Bike rider in Brooklyn was also badly injured earlier this month, and it is believed his wounds are life-threatening.

Crashes are not just an every-day event in New York City. There are roughly 630 crashes per day in New York City, with 124 crashes per day causing injuries to pedestrians, cyclists or motorists. The bloodshed has put pressure on Mayor de Blasio to do more to make the roads safe. Hizzoner will announce a new bicycle safety initiative on Thursday.

  • MrLomez

    Understand that these crashes are chiefly a function of poor street design and lax enforcement, but should we start to look to pedestrian avoidance technology as at least a partial solution? Are we negotiating against ourselves if we insist that all trucks (who at least claim to not see pedestrians when they turn left), have a state of the art avoidance system installed? I realize the goal is to have fewer motor vehicles interacting with vulnerable road users, but perhaps we can make those interactions a little safer.

  • gorbachev

    They used to call avoidance systems eyes back in the day.

    I see this sort of f*cking behavior from motorists every goddamn day. Nobody pays any goddamn attention to anything other than how to get to wherever the hell they’re going the fastest possible way.

    If you’re turning, pay attention to people possibly crossing the crosswalk. Simple!

  • Joe R.

    Truck cabs with better visibility would help a lot also. Cabovers should be mandated for any truck operating on NYC streets. SUVs and pickups should be prohibited altogether unless you can demonstrate a business reason for needing them.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Yep, the crossover mirrors mandated aren’t good enough, and the mandate isn’t well enforced. Even the NYPD couldn’t miss a huge engine out front blocking the driver’s view once cabovers are mandatory.

  • Andrew
  • Seereous

    So true…for all of us! I have way too often had to pull fellow pedestrians out of the paths of cars and, I am sad to say, bikes because, in their hurry, none of them were using their “avoidance systems”. And I am including the pedestrians in that.

  • neroden

    Cops are accessories after the fact to murders like these, concealing and destroying evidence. That’s why the murderers don’t get charged. The cops need to be arrested and charged.