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Truck Driver Kills Pedestrian Along Union Square Danger Strip

3:53 PM EDT on July 14, 2021

This is the truck involved in the crash.

An 85-year-old woman was struck and killed by a truck driver along a notoriously dangerous portion of Union Square on Wednesday afternoon, cops said.

According to a preliminary report from the NYPD, Antoinette Turrigiano was crossing E. 17th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway from south to north at around 1:55 p.m. when she was struck by the driver of a massive tow truck heading westbound. Turrigiano died on the scene. The driver remained at the site and was not initially charge, though the investigation is ongoing, cops said.

The body of the victim suggests she was crossing E. 17th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway. Photo: Henry Beers Shenk
The body of the victim suggests she was crossing E. 17th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway. Photo: Henry Beers Shenk

There are not many reported crashes on E. 17th Street in that area, according to city statistics, but residents know it as a particularly difficult spot. There are many pedestrians and cyclists who access both the park in Union Square and the two-way protected bike lane along E. 17th Street — and Broadway itself is occasionally blocked off as car-free space. Everything south of E. 17th Street is a pedestrian-only zone with heavy foot traffic.

Pedestrians and cyclists heading south on Broadway get to E. 17th Street and are suddenly thrust back into significant traffic on westbound 17th Street. Traffic moves slowly because of congestion, which explains the relatively low crash numbers, but the danger persists. And there are often — as there were today — trucks parked along the south side of E. 17th Street servicing the park's legendary greenmarket.

In today's crash, a witness engaged in victim-blaming, saying that Turrigiano was "looking at her phone" as she crossed, again, possibly because of the false sense of safety that pedestrians have in that area.

“The truck came along and boom," the witness said. "Super sad to see.”

Another witness was more sympathetic, blaming city officials for unsafe streets.

“You can’t cross the street in Manhattan, I swear,” she said.

This is a breaking story. We will have more later.

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