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Police Arrest Yonkers Man in Fatal Spring Hit-and-Run on Henry Hudson Parkway

12:56 PM EDT on October 1, 2021

File photo: Dave Colon

Police announced an arrest this week in a fatal hit-and-run crash that occurred this spring on a highway running through Washington Heights.

On Tuesday, the NYPD said that they had arrested Christian Saunders, a 32-year-old Yonkers resident, and charged him with running down Thomas Lake, a 34-year-old Washington Heights resident. Cops say that shortly before 1:45 a.m. on May 26 this year, they found Lake in the northbound lane of Henry Hudson Parkway near West 163rd Street, unconscious and unresponsive, and an investigation determined that he'd been hit by a driver headed north, who then fled the scene.

A police spokesperson did not clarify whether Lake was walking on or next to the highway, which does not have a sidewalk but does have a shrubbery-filled embankment near West 163rd Street. Since January 2019, two motorists have been injured around the same spot on the highway where Lake was killed, according to Crashmapper.

After his arrest, Saunders was charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident and operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs.

Such arrests are rare; data show that the NYPD made an arrest in only 0.8 percent of 39,299 hit-and-run crashes last year. In the 33 Precinct, where the May crash occurred, police made arrests in nine out of 67 hit-and-run crashes that caused a personal injury. Lake is one of 88 pedestrians, and 196 total road users, to have been killed in the city through Sept. 27, in the bloodiest year on city streets in the Vision Zero era.

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