The bloodiest year in the de Blasio administration's seven-plus-year tenure continued this weekend with multiple deaths, including a cyclist on the Upper West Side, a 3-month-old baby in Brooklyn killed by a recidivist speeder, a moped rider on the Long Island Expressway, a senior citizen on the Upper West Side, plus at least two motorcycle riders.
The weekend of bloodshed started on Saturday at around 1:30 a.m., when a bicyclist was killed and a pedestrian wounded by a car driver at Amsterdam Avenue and West 99th Street. According to cops, a 28-year-old man on a bike and a 19-year-old on foot were "traveling together" (cops did not say where) when they were struck by the driver of a dark colored sedan which fled northbound on the avenue.
Both victims were taken to St. Luke's Hospital, where the cyclist died. The pedestrian is in stable condition, cops said. Neither of the victims' names have been released. Police say they are pursuing the driver.
About 90 minutes later, a drunk driver plowed into a 19-year-old on a "dirt bike" and a 23-year-old on a moped on the westbound Long Island Expressway near Woodhaven Boulevard, killing the teen, cops said. The preliminary investigation said that the driver of a silver sedan struck the young victims from behind, an indication that he might have been speeding. That driver, whom cops identified as Jorge Serrano, 30, of Torrington, Conn., was later charged with vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of a crash, drunk driving and having a license violation.
And also on Saturday, a around 8:10 a.m., a 73-year-old woman was struck and killed by a driver at West 66th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
In that case, police said that a 51-year-old man driving a 2007 Hyundai SUV struck the victim as he shifted his car into reverse on the south side of West 66th Street. The driver remained on scene, and the victim, Ilse Falcone of Riverside Drive, was taken to Mount Sinai West Hospital, where she died. The driver was not initially charged.
At around 6:20 p.m. in Brooklyn, a driver going the wrong way on Gates Avenue in Fort Greene struck another vehicle on Vanderbilt Avenue. The crash sent at least one of the vehicles into three pedestrians: a 33-year-old woman, a 36-year-old man and their 3-month-old girl, killing the baby, cops said. The driver of the wrong-way Honda Civic initially fled on food, but was later taken into custody, police said, but provided no further immediate details. The parents' injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. [Streetsblog has reached out to Mayor de Blasio for comment and will update this story if he responds.]
The driver is a recidivist speeder, according to dogged reporter Liam Quigley, who was on the scene and, unlike reporters for the major papers, ran the driver's plates:
Cops may have been chasing the driver before the crash, according to reports on Citizen:
If, indeed, a police chase was involved in the crash, it will be challenging to get additional information. Earlier this year, a reckless driver ran a red light and killed delivery worker Borkot Ullah on E. Houston Street in a crash that appeared to involve a police chase. The NYPD has repeatedly declined to comment.
In addition, the New York Post reported that a bicyclist was "fighting for his life" after being struck by a hit-and-run driver across the street from Brookdale Hospital in Flatbush at around 3:50 a.m. on Saturday. Also on Saturday, motorcycle rider Hussein Abdelwahab was killed when he ran off the road on the Grand Central Parkway and 188th Street at around 9:20 a.m., cops said. And at around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, police say that a 31-year-old motorcycle rider slammed into a Chevy Cruze near Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street when the driver of the Cruze stopped abruptly to make an illegal U-turn. The motorcyclist "applied the brakes of his motorcycle to avoid hitting the Chevy Cruze," cops said.
The 66-year-old Cruze remained on the scene and was not immediately charged.
The bloodshed comes during what has been the worst year of Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero campaign. Through Sept. 7 — before this epic weekend of carnage — 181 people had been killed on New York City roadways this year, the most through this same point in the year since 2013, when Mike Bloomberg was mayor.
Amid the carnage, DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman reiterated his call last week for the state legislature to allow New York City's speed cameras to operate 24-7 so that more reckless drivers are punished and, hopefully, amend their behavior. The state legislature does not return to session until Jan. 3.
It is clear that police "enforcement" is not working — partially because there isn't enough of it. As Streetsblog reported last week, NYPD officers are not taking road recklessness seriously.
In June, 2021 (the last month for which there are full-month stats), cops citywide wrote just 39,777 total moving violation tickets, which is down 51 percent from the 82,229 moving violations cops wrote in June 2019. Specifically, in June, 2021, cops wrote:
2,308 failure-to-yield tickets (down 55 percent from 5,208 in June 2019)
7,777 speeding tickets (down 35 percent from 11,993 in June 2019)
2,623 tickets for running a red light (down 56 percent from 5,933 in June 2019)
1,882 tickets for improper turn (down 72 percent from 6,857 in June 2019)
Educated at the Sorbonne and the Yale School of Drama, Gersh Kuntzman is obviously not the person being described here. We're talking about tabloid legend Gersh Kuntzman, who has been with New York newspapers since 1989, including stints at the New York Daily News, the Post, the Brooklyn Paper and even a cup of coffee with the Times. He's also the writer and producer of "Murder at the Food Coop," which was a hit at the NYC Fringe Festival in 2016, and “SUV: The Musical” in 2007. Email Gersh at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kareem found out the hard way that his Craigslist gig delivering temp tags was illegal. Now he's exposing the operation that employed him, revealing clues about his anonymous bosses that all trace back to the same place.