UPDATE: City Worker Killed by Fellow Crew Member on Upper East Side

Photo: Dave Colon
Photo: Dave Colon

A worker with the Department of Transportation was killed when another member of the road crew paving an Upper East Side street backed up and rolled over him with a department vehicle, police said.

Eduardo Calle Abril, 44, was killed on Tuesday morning on E. 88th Street between East End and York avenues at around 1 a.m. According to cops, his unidentified co-worker, 35, backed a Mack dump truck over him, causing him to fall and be crushed by the truck. Workers called 911, but Calle Abril could not be saved.

“It’s an accident,” a police spokesman said. “There is no criminality suspected.”

It’s not the first such “accident” however for DOT workers or contractors, who do dangerous jobs, often under difficult conditions. In September, a worker installing a street light in a cherrypicker was killed when a truck driver from a different company slammed into his vehicle. That driver was never charged.

City officials recently revealed that crashes involving city workers were up last year. The number of collisions the city deemed “preventable” went up from 3,347 to 3,357 in fiscal year 2019 compared to the previous July-June period. At the same time, injuries were also up — from 763 people injured to 827, an increase of more than 8 percent. Fatalities doubled from two people to four.

Department of Transportation workers have better driving records than other city agencies. Of the nine departments with fleets, DOT is the third safest, with a crash rate of 2.7 crashes per 100,000 miles traveled. By comparison, FDNY drivers rack up 10.1 crashes per 100,000 miles.

One DOT worker, George Staab, was killed on the job last year, the agency told Streetsblog. The agency declined to answer whether the worker who killed Calle Abril has been disciplined — and what happened to other workers who have injured colleagues.

Update: After initial publication of this story, the DOT issued the following statement:

Early this morning, Eduardo Calle Abril, a four-year DOT employee in our Roadway Repair & Maintenance division, was struck and killed by an agency truck while he performed paving work on the Upper East Side. This is a painful moment for the entire DOT family. We mourn the loss of our colleague and our thoughts and prayers are with Eduardo’s family, friends and coworkers. The tragedy reminds us all of the incredibly challenging work the women and men of our resurfacing and pothole crews do to keep our streets in a state of good repair. We are grateful for their service on behalf of all New Yorkers. An NYPD investigation is underway and DOT is also actively investigating the incident.

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