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ARE WE SAFE ANYWHERE? Another SUV Driver Kills a Pedestrian, This Time a Senior Citizen

11:37 AM EDT on September 13, 2019

The corner where the fatal crash occurred. Photo via GoogleMaps

Another driver who couldn't control his SUV killed a pedestrian this week, the second SUV-related death in four days.

The crashes underscore that pedestrians (and cyclists) aren't safe anywhere — even when they are off the street or trying to stay away from cars. The first fatality was a child who was waiting at a bus stop on a sidewalk. The second was a senior citizen standing in a security booth. A third was a worker who was fixing a traffic light; a driver crashed into the worker's cherrypicker, sending the worker hurtling to his death. Meanwhile, cyclist Jose Alzorriz was killed last month by an SUV that careened into him when it was struck by a speeding car that blew through a red light. Alzorriz was waiting patiently curbside for the light to change.

Police say that on Thursday night at about 8 p.m., emergency responders arrived at 59 Paidge Ave. in Greenpoint, and found a 72-year-old man with serious leg injuries. The man was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he died. (Police later identified the victim as Juan Mendez of Bellerose, Queens.

An investigation found that a 62-year-old man behind the wheel of a 2017 Ford Explorer made a left turn from Provost Street onto Paidge Avenue, when police say the driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the security booth, in which the 72-year-old man was standing at the time.

A police spokesperson told Streetsblog that the investigation remains ongoing and that he wasn't sure if speed or weather conditions had contributed to the crash. The driver, who remained on the scene, has not been charged. Police did not identify the driver or his victim.

Mendez is the 152nd traffic fatality in the city this year.

Earlier this week, 10-year-old Enzo Farachio was killed by Alexander Katchaloft when Katchaloft drove his Lexus SUV into the boy while Farachio waited on the sidewalk at a bus stop.

And just hours after street-safety activists held a vigil in remembrance of Farachio at Avenue L and Ocean Avenue, an SUV driver plowed into an MTA bus nearby on Avenue J and Ocean Avenue.

The extreme toll that the overlarge, overpowered vehicles has taken on pedestrians has prompted growing calls for their removal from city streets.

A member of the German parliament last week demanded that the vehicles be banned after an SUV driver killed four pedestrians, including a three-year-old child.

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