UPDATE: Second Child Run Down and Killed in East New York — Driver Arrested

Photo: Dave Colon
Photo: Dave Colon

Updated | A 7-year-old child walking in East New York was killed on Thursday by a recidivist reckless driver, the second child killed in the neighborhood this week. The unlicensed driver was later charged.

According to police, 48-year-old Susan Pierrot slammed into Payson Lott and his 39-year-old mom with her silver Jeep SUV at the intersection of Blake Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue at 8:15 a.m. — killing the boy and injuring the mother.

Cops said Pierrot had been driving east on Blake Avenue, when she turned right onto Pennsylvania Avenue, striking both people in the crosswalk. She was later charged with driving without a valid license and two counts each of failure to yield and failure to exercise due care — two minor charges that carry at most a 30-day sentence.

Payson is the second child killed as they walked to school this week. 10-year-old Patience Albert was killed by a bus driver who made a right turn as she walked in a a crosswalk, killing her and injuring her 15-year-old brother.

Blake Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, the scene of another fatal crash involving a child on the way to school. Photo: GoogleMaps
Blake Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, the scene of another fatal crash involving a child on the way to school. Photo: GoogleMaps

Pennsylvania Avenue and Blake Avenue is an intersection just 100 feet from Thomas Jefferson High School, and a witness who works at a nearby deli told the New York Post that the boy and his mother were walking to the school after getting sandwiches.

Between January 2017 and December 2019, there were 46 total crashes injuring two pedestrians and 22 motorists at Blake and Pennsylvania, according to CrashMapper. In order to cross from one side of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other, the boy and his mother had to cross a street that’s comprised of four driving lanes and two parking lanes.

Pierrot’s Jeep has received 10 camera-issued speeding tickets and two camera-issued red-light tickets — including eight camera violations between June 20, 2018 and March 28, 2019. Under the original terms of the Reckless Driver Accountability Act, that would have been more than enough to have the vehicle seized until she completed a safe driving course — but in the final version of the bill that Mayor de Blasio signed on Wednesday, Pierrot would have to have received five more speeding tickets or three more red light tickets before meeting the threshold for seizure. Police did say that she was driving with a suspended license at the time of Thursday’s crash, but could not say why.

The mayor has repeatedly shot down the idea of banning cars from streets in front of city schools, previously telling reporters, “there’s a whole lot of parents in this town who need to drop their kids off or pick up their kids from school.” He repeated that comment almost verbatim at an event with musician Billy Idol on Thursday morning, shortly after the boy was run over so close to a school.

“I want to be careful [about not calling for a ban] because the vast majority of parents who bring their kid to school in a car do it safely,” Hizzoner said. “Vision Zero is about getting people to handle their vehicles differently. It is not always about the idea that there aren’t going to be any vehicles.”

The mayor did not directly address the death at the Idol event, but Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez was visibly affected by the death.

“It’s too much. It’s too much. It breaks our heart,” he said.

Transportation Alternatives’ Executive Director Danny Harris highlighted the fact that Payson’s death came just one day after the mayor said that society can’t “prioritize cars over children” while he signed the Reckless Driver Accountability Act.

“Yet today, another child died exactly because of that reality, where the city’s 1.4 million car owners dictate the livelihoods and safety of 8.6 million New Yorkers,” Harris said. “Moreover, it is no coincidence that two children have been killed in East New York, a low-income, predominantly black neighborhood. While Vision Zero infrastructure has swept the city, communities of color have been largely left out. The decisions about which streets are improved is not simply a matter of traffic safety, but also a matter of racial justice.”

The mayor did not immediately address the death on twitter, but the parody Twitter account @GoodNYCMayor released a statement promising pedestrian improvements:

Later, the mayor tweeted that he was “devastated” by the death.

In addition to the death in East New York this morning, police also said that 39-year-old Bronx resident Baleriano Mondragon Trinidad was killed on Wednesday night after he was hit by the drivers of two different cars while he crossed the street at Pelham Parkway and Wallace Avenue.

This story was updated at 6 p.m. to reflect additional information provided by the NYPD.

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