Sanitation Driver Hits and Kills Moped Rider at Dangerous Brooklyn Intersection

The scene of the crash, looking north up Rockaway Avenue. The Godfrey's van is making the same turn as the Sanitation driver made when he struck the moped rider. Photo: Jesse Coburn.
The scene of the crash, looking north up Rockaway Avenue. The Godfrey's van is making the same turn as the Sanitation driver made when he struck the moped rider. Photo: Jesse Coburn.

A Sanitation truck driver struck and killed a man on a motorized scooter or moped on Tuesday night in an industrial part of Brooklyn after making an apparently dangerous, though legal, turn.

According to police, the 55-year-old garbage truck driver was traveling eastbound on Ditmas Avenue at around 8 p.m. and was approaching the irregularly shaped T intersection with Rockaway Avenue when he turned right, striking the victim, also 55, who was on “an electric scooter.” (An NYPD spokesman declined to say whether it was a scooter or moped, a source of constant confusion.)

A sign at that corner says that trucks over 12-feet-10 are barred from making that right turn because of its excessive sharpness, but garbage trucks are only 11-foot-6, according to a Sanitation Department spokesman. The driver, who remained on the scene, was not initially charged, according to the NYPD, which declined to say which direction the moped rider hoped to go, but in either case, he would have had the right-of-way. Garbage trucks weigh 40,000 pounds empty and 60,000 pounds when full.

A sign on the corner permits garbage trucks to make the right turn, but the scooter rider might not have been aware. Photo: Google
A sign on the corner permits garbage trucks to make the right turn, but the scooter rider might not have been aware. Photo: Google

The motor vehicle rider was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where he died. His identity was withheld by police until his family can be notified.

Police officers were out at the scene of the crash Wednesday morning stopping drivers and checking their licenses and registrations.

An employee of a car glass shop at the intersection said he wasn’t surprised that someone had died there.

“Nobody follows the laws anymore. They just do what they want,” said the employee, who gave his name only as Jack. Gesturing to the police across the street, he added: “If the cops weren’t standing there, people would just be driving through the red light.”

The intersection’s off-center design — and its location in an industrial zone — has made it one of the more dangerous ones in the area. According to city stats, there were 31 reported crashes at that one intersection in the last three years. By comparison, the normally square intersection of Ditmas Avenue and Rockaway Parkway just two blocks away had 16 crashes in the same timeframe.

A spokesman for the Sanitation Department said the agency offered its “sincerest condolences” to the family of the victim.

“We take matters of safety extremely seriously, and are conducting a full investigation into this tragic situation,” said the spokesman, Joshua Goodman.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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