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Collision Investigation Squad

Cops Finally Charge Driver Who Ran Over and Killed Queens Senior Last Fall

3:37 PM EDT on March 9, 2020

This is the intersection where a now-arrested driver killed 85-year-old Luis Cardona last year. Photo: Google

Police have arrested the driver who killed an elderly pedestrian last fall — six months after the fatal Queens crash.

Cops said on Monday that they slapped 58-year-old Henry Gonzalez with failure to yield and failure to exercise due care — minor charges that carry a maximum of 30 days behind bars — for hitting 85-year-old Luis Cardona as he crossed 89th Avenue at 170th Street inside the crosswalk on Sept. 17, 2019.

Police at the time could not say whether Gonzalez, who was driving a Jeep, was speeding or distracted when he fatally barreled into the elderly man. And on Monday, an NYPD department spokesman still could not answer those questions, nor why arresting the reckless driver took half a year.

Since October, there have been 1,021 crashes in the 103rd Precinct — which encompasses the Jamaica intersection where Cardona was killed — leading to one more pedestrian death since then, and 331 injuries, including to nine cyclists and 70 pedestrians. In the last two years since March, 2018, there have been a total of 6,267 crashes in the precinct, leading to six fatalities, including two pedestrians, and 2,058 injuries, including 372 pedestrians and 87 cyclists, according to Crashmapper.

The 27th City Council district — the area of eastern Queens where Cardona was killed, which is represented by Council Member Daneek Miller — is one of the most dangerous places in the city. Last year, there were 4,987 crashes, injuring 56 cyclists, 222 pedestrians and 1,616 motorists, with one pedestrian and two drivers killed. By comparison, the neighboring 23rd District had 4,119 total crashes last year. And the neighboring 24th District had 4,280 crashes.

And senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to traffic violence — at least 14 people age 65 or older have been killed by a driver in New York so far this year. Last year, seniors were among the most vulnerable road users — in 2019, at least 47 people age 65 or above, including 85-year-old Cardona, were killed by someone behind the wheel. That’s 40 percent of all pedestrian victims.

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