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Driver Kills Cyclist in Deadly Bronx Yet is Not Charged — Part of a Surge in Road Violence

12:48 PM EDT on July 21, 2022

This is the definition of a dangerous intersection. Photo: Google

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A cyclist was killed by a reckless driver at a badly designed Bronx intersection on Wednesday — just hours after new data showed that the Bronx is experiencing a double-digit increase in road fatalities.

According to police, Wenntwen Porgho, 43, was riding his bicycle northbound on Bronxwood Avenue at around 10 p.m. when he was struck by the 30-year-old driver of a Subaru sedan who was making a left turn onto Williamsbridge Road from southbound Bronxwood Avenue.

The roadways are not perpendicular and the dogleg intersection has no signal. Drivers often exceed the recommended turning speed of 5 miles per hour as they make the wide left turn onto Williamsbridge (photo at the top of this post). There have been 18 reported crashes at or adjacent to that one single intersection since January 2018, or basically four per year, yet the intersection has not been redesigned.

Police declined to say if the driver, who remained on the scene, indeed cut the corner, but the preliminary narrative from the NYPD suggests there was substantial evidence for a failure to yield charge against the driver, was nonetheless not charged.

Porgho suffered severe body trauma and was taken to Jacobi Hospital, where he died.

Porgho is the 11th cyclist to be killed this year. The Bronx is in the midst of a blood tide of road violence, with twice as many victims (28) as there were in 2014. The 28 fatalities is five more than over the same period last year. The Bronx is the only borough where fatalities increased from the first half of 2021 to the first half of 2022, TA said.

Blue period. This is a map of all the crashes this year in the Bronx. Photo: NYPD
Blue period. This is a map of all the crashes this year in the Bronx. Photo: NYPD

Total crashes are down in the Bronx this year (likely a result of the NYPD no longer responding to calls of non-injury crashes), yet there are still roughly 50 crashes per day in the Boogie Down. Injuries to pedestrians are also up this year, compared to last year. According to the NYPD, 750 Bronxites (or nearly four per day) have been injured so far this year, up 6 percent from the same period last year.

Citywide, through July 18, 129 people were killed on New York streets, up from 99 during the same period in 2018.

Porgho's death followed the killing of a pedestrian in Bay Ridge on Sunday. According to police, a 67-year-old woman, was crossing Seventh Avenue at around 11:24 a.m. when she was knocked down by the driver of a 2013 Ford van that had turned from westbound Ovington Avenue onto Seventh. Police said the victim was taken to Lutheran Hospital in critical condition, but local elected officials, who identified the victim as Monica Chen, said she died soon after. The driver has not been charged.

“The driver responsible claimed he didn’t see her, despite it occurring in broad daylight and the intersection having lead pedestrian interval signals and unobstructed views of intersections when turning," state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and City Council Member Justin Brannan said in a joint statement. "We are both outraged that the epidemic of traffic violence continues and as a result, a 67 year old woman is dead. We are outraged that once again someone’s life was taken and our laws are such that there is no criminality. We are outraged that drivers continue to see headlines and reports of traffic fatalities and continue to think their destination is more important than the pedestrian right in front of them."

The pols said they would ask the Department of Transportation to add more safety measures. The NYPD declined to comment about the lawmakers' statement.

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