Another Pedestrian is Dead on Brooklyn’s Dangerous Kings Highway

Firefighters work to save the life of Diego Andrade,  who was struck by the driver of the garbage truck in the background of the photo.
Firefighters work to save the life of Diego Andrade, who was struck by the driver of the garbage truck in the background of the photo.

A pedestrian was killed by the driver of a private sanitation truck late on Thursday along a notorious stretch of Kings Highway in Brooklyn that is known for crashes.

According to police, Diego Andrade, 58, was crossing E. 14th Street in Midwood at around 11 p.m. when the unidentified driver of a massive 2016 Mack truck turned left from Kings Highway and slammed into the pedestrian, causing severe body and head trauma. EMTs treated Andrade on the scene, witnesses told Streetsblog, then sent him to Maimonides Medical Center, where he died.

The sanitation truck driver remained on the scene and was not charged, though the description of the crash suggests only two possibilities: that he ran a red light or failed to yield to Andrade. NYPD declined to provide additional information.

Crashes are common along Kings Highway, especially in the commercial zone where Andrade was killed. Last year, according to city stats, there were 41 reported crashes on just the 10 blocks between Coney Island Avenue and E. 21st Street — a stretch that includes a bus route but is narrowed by having the curbside lane filled with stored cars. The crashes injured one cyclist and 13 pedestrians.

The crash site, by day. Photo: Henry Beers Shenk
The crash site, by day. Photo: Henry Beers Shenk

The Department of Transportation has never addressed the dangers of that stretch of Kings Highway going back to at least 2009, according to the agency’s website.

“I’ve almost been hit a few times, but nothing like a garbage truck,” said one neighborhood resident, who gave the name Sean. “I’d like to see the city improve safety for things like this, maybe by increasing the times in between the cars and the pedestrian times.”

Another resident, who gave the name Mary, said that she’s always been concerned when walking in the area.

“People around here drive crazy!” she said. “I’ve seen people get into arguments at intersections over hitting each other’s cars. I have a friend who was very nearly hit a couple of weeks ago, and the guy drove straight off!”

Mary couldn’t say what she wanted the city to do, however.

“I’d like to say I want something changed, but I don’t know what they would change,” she said. “I don’t know city politics like that. They just need to keep the crazy drivers off the roads.”

The portion of Kings Highway where Andrade died is represented by Inna Vernikov in the City Council. In the entire district last year, there were 1,333 reported crashes last year, or more than 3.5 per day on average. Those crashes injured 60 cyclists and 165 pedestrians. Vernikov herself has contributed to the danger that pedestrians face in that neighborhood, with a driving record that features repeated speeding, as Streetsblog reported.

Since our last coverage of Vernikov’s driving record was published on Sept. 13, 2022, Vernikov’s car has been nabbed four more times for speeding in city school zones. According to records, none of the latest tickets has been paid. (We reached out to Vernikov for comment and will update this story if we hear back.)

— with Gersh Kuntzman

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