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NYPD: Four People Killed by Drivers in 24 Hours, Six Within 48

3:00 PM EST on December 20, 2019

Police investigate a fatal crash at the corner of Broadway and Howard Street. Photo: Dave Colon

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If this is a war on cars, why are pedestrians and cyclists doing most of the dying?

Four pedestrians have been killed within 24 hours on the streets of New York City — and six within 48 — putting a bloody end on an already hemorrhagic year. The rash in deaths even prompted Mayor de Blasio to announce a vague crackdown on reckless truck drivers, on top of his same-old thoughts and prayers.

The first of Friday's fatalities occurred at around 5 a.m. when the 61-year-old driver of a sanitation truck from Classic Recycling fatally struck a man — whose name and age is still unknown — at W. 49th Street and 10th Avenue. Driver Robert Alford remained on the scene, but was later charged with failure to yield and failure to exercise due care, minor counts that very rarely result in any punishment. 

An hour later, police say the drivers of three separate vehicles — one a truck and two sedans — ran over and killed 57-year-old Andres Stylianou as he crossed Third Avenue near Seventh Street in Park Slope. All three drivers remained on the scene and police issued no tickets or made any arrests. Third Avenue is a notorious speedway in Park Slope and Sunset Park and is often used as a shortcut by drivers avoiding the gridlocked Gowanus Expressway.

Those two fatal crashes come after Thursday's carnage with the deaths of two pedestrians — first 85-year-old Brendan Gill, who was killed by a truck driver at Third Avenue and 39th Street in Sunset Park; and then a 26-year-old woman, who was also run over by a truck driver backing up at Broadway and Howard Street in Manhattan.

Manhattan Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, who chairs the council’s Transportation committee, railed against motorists to be "more vigilant" when they get behind the wheel.

"All drivers must do their part to ensure pedestrians are kept safe," he wrote.

But the spate of bloodshed began even before Thursday — bringing the death toll up to six people killed by drivers in just two days. Police said a Queens senior died from the injuries he suffered after he was hit by a driver, on the sidewalk, in Flushing on Wednesday at about 8:30 am. And later that morning, another driver struck and killed 75-year-old Xue You as she was crossing 52nd Street near Eighth Avenue, according to reports.

This is what masquerades for news coverage in most of the city.
This is what masquerades for news coverage in most of the city.
This is what masquerades for news coverage in most of the city.

The four new fatalities brings the number of people killed by drivers on the streets of New York City so far this year up to at least 214, a more than 8-percent increase over the 192 people killed in 2018.

The rash of vehicular deaths in such a short amount of time — especially by drivers of massive trucks — comes amid a new Department of Transportation campaign to target SUV drivers, particularly men, who cause a disproportionate amount of fatal crashes.

Still, some motor vehicle zealots see the crackdown on dangerous drivers who kill as part of a larger "War on Cars" being waged by Mayor de Blasio, who has never called for car-reduction strategies, opposes the kind of widespread pedestrianization being employed in London and Paris, has increased the size of the city fleet and encouraged driving by giving out an estimated 140,000 parking placards, and still, in fact, drives to the gym, which suggests that driving is a perfectly legitimate way to get around the city.

Hizzoner's tweet on Friday said he'd deploy more cops on the road to ticket reckless truck drivers. In a statement, City Hall spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie added, "This will be a citywide enforcement effort. New Yorkers will see more patrol and Traffic Enforcement Agents out on the streets ensuring that commercial truck drivers follow the law — and hold them accountable if they are not."

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