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Bronx Pedestrian Killed by Driver Who Remains Uncharged

The pedestrian was crossing Park Avenue with the light, cops said. Photo: Google

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The Bronx man who was hit and badly injured by a driver at a busy intersection in the Bathgate section in October has died of his injuries, police said on Thursday.

According to the NYPD, Ramon Peña-Fernandez was crossing Park Avenue in a crosswalk and with the light at around 1 p.m. on Oct. 19 when he was struck by the driver of a massive Jeep Wrangler, who was turning right onto Park from E. Tremont Avenue. The driver failed to yield, and struck the 60-year-old Peña-Fernandez, who hit his head on the pavement.

Peña-Fernandez, who lived nearby on E. 178th Street, was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in serious condition, and on Dec. 6, died of his injuries.

The driver, whose name was not released by cops, was not initially charged for failing to yield to Peña-Fernandez, and remains uncharged to this day, according to NYPD spokeswoman Det. Denise Moroney. She said the investigation is ongoing.

The stretch of East Tremont Avenue where Ramon Peña-Fernandez was killed is an exceptionally dangerous place for pedestrians, thanks to impatient or reckless drivers. Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 5 this year, there have been 74 reported crashes on the four-block stretch between Webster and Third avenues, injuring three cyclists, 12 pedestrians and 22 motorists, city stats show.

And in all of 2019, there were 121 reported crashes, injuring two cyclists, 13 pedestrians and 15 motorists in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. This year's total crash numbers may be lower because of a decision last year by the NYPD to stop responding to, and therefore to stop logging, non-injury crashes.

What does the NYPD's decision to stop responding to non-injury crashes mean? For one thing, it means that on paper, roadways appear to be safer; in the first 11 months of 2019, before the statistical change was made, there were 194,421 reported crashes in New York City. In the first 11 months of 2021, after the change, cops say there were 101,621 crashes, an on-paper drop of nearly 50 percent.

But the number of injuries has not dropped by nearly that amount, with cyclist injuries basically flat (4,737 in 2019 to 4,618 so far this year) and pedestrian injuries down 28 percent, from 9.269 in 2019 to 6,691 so far this year.

But fatalities are way up this year compared to that pre-pandemic year. Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 7, 112 pedestrians were killed on city streets, the highest over that period since 2016, early in Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative. The total number of people who have been killed this year is the highest since the first year of the mayor's two terms.

Chart: DOT
Chart: DOT
Chart: DOT

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