Two more Brooklyn pedestrians — both senior citizens — who were struck by drivers as 2022 came to a close have both died, NYPD said on Thursday, kicking off the year with more grieving after one of the bloodiest years of the Vision Zero era just ended.
According to the NYPD, Margie Salter, 91, was struck on Rockaway Parkway at around 6:50 p.m. on Dec. 29 by a hit-and-run driver. Salter was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where she died on Jan. 1. Cops said they are looking for the driver of a light-colored sedan that struck Salter just north of the Skidmore Avenue intersection.
Salter lived near the crash site. The NYPD provided no additional information.
Three days after Salter died, 85-year-old Bay Ridge resident Norman Fruchter died of wounds he sustained on Dec. 22 when the driver of a Hyundai Elantra backed into him at the intersection of 68th Street and Bliss Terrace, where Fruchter lived.
According to cops, Fruchter was crossing 68th Street at around 10:10 p.m. from the north side of the street to the south side — in other words, from Owls Head Park back to his one-block street — when a driver who was going in reverse the wrong way on 68th Street struck him, causing head trauma. There is no crosswalk to help pedestrians get safely to the popular park.
Fruchter, who was well known in New York for his longstanding work in education, was taken to NYU Langone Hospital, where he died on Jan. 4. The 42-year-old driver remained on the scene and was not charged. A spokeswoman for the agency was asked why no summonses were issued, and she said the investigation is ongoing. She explained the lack of charges by saying the investigation may reveal that the driver was reversing down the block because he was parking.
The NYPD provided no additional information except to say that the driver was "not injured."
The crash could not have occurred on streets more different. Bay Ridge's 68th Street runs westbound along the southern edge of Owls Head Park, while Rockaway Parkway is a wide car sluice south of Seaview Avenue.
Yet one common theme persists: crashes.
In 2022, there were eight reported crashes on just the two blocks of 68th Street near the park, injuring a pedestrian, according to city stats. And on the one long block south of Seaview Avenue, there were 78 reported crashes last year, injuring a whopping 18 pedestrians. Even the Google image of that stretch of Rockaway Parkway shows a pedestrian at risk:
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 email@example.com