SEE IT: Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Delivery Cyclist on East Houston Street (Warning: Graphic Content)
A hit-and-run driver — who may have been being chased by police — struck and killed a cyclist in the East Village late on Thursday night.
According to police, Borkot Ullah, 24, was crossing East Houston Street from south to north on his e-bike near Clinton Street at around 9:45 p.m. when the driver of a black Subaru Outback SUV slammed into him, causing severe body trauma, cops said.
The driver fled and was “last observed heading northbound on the FDR Drive,” police said in a statement. As the driver fled, Ullah was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he died. He lived on West 17th Street, not far from where he was struck.
A video from the scene showed clearly that the cyclist had the light and that the driver swerved around stopped traffic to run the red light and strike Ullah. After the crash, the driver is seen racing away at a high rate of speed as two cops in an unmarked police car — which was right behind the hit-and-run driver and might have been pursuing the driver before the crash — pulled over to check on the victim.
When Streetsblog sought more details about whether the officer was chasing the suspect before the crash, NYPD spokeswoman Det. Sophia Mason said, “The circumstances of the pre-collision fact pattern are under full review.”
Ullah was a member of Desis Rising Up and Moving, an undocumented workers’ rights group, according to Shahana Hanif, who recently won the Democratic primary to represent Park Slope in the City Council. She said the South Asian membership group has many members in the 39th Council district.
She was horrified by the crash.
“We truly cannot have safe streets without immigrant voices,” she said. [Ullah is in the black shirt in the Instagram photo below.]
View this post on Instagram
Ullah would be the 14th cyclist or e-bike rider killed so far this year. (It is unclear whether that number is statistically high for New York because the Department of Transportation has begun classifying e-bike riders separately from bicyclists in a new category called “other motorized.” In previous years, some e-bike riders were classified as cyclists; others as motorcyclists.)
Regardless of how fatalities are classified, New York is on pace for the bloodiest year for road deaths since before Mayor de Blasio’s term began in 2014. Through July 7, 128 people have died on the streets, up from 95 last year and an average of 107 in the first seven years of de Blasio’s administration.
The roadway of Houston Street is a speedway in parts, thanks to two lanes of traffic for car drivers and a painted lane that is often filled with double-parked cars. There is a stop light at Clinton Street, but it is unclear whether the driver had the light.
In the wake of the crash, Transportation Alternatives put out a tweet storm:
Hit-and-run drivers killed three people in 24 hours this week.
The deadliest year of @NYCMayor’s tenure has gotten even deadlier.
This is the consequence when lifesaving street improvements are scaled down, held back & delayed by politics & lack of bold thinking. pic.twitter.com/ov7zzpRdtg
— Transportation Alternatives (@TransAlt) July 9, 2021
Update: This story has been updated to reflect the accurate time of the crash — roughly 9:45 p.m. according to witnesses and a time-stamped video — and not the 11 p.m. reported by police.