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Speeding Driver Runs Red Light and Kills 18-Year-Old on Deadly Atlantic Avenue Speedway

An 18-year-old woman was killed Friday morning when a 25-year-old in a Mercedes Benz sped through a red light on deadly Atlantic Avenue.

11:34 AM EDT on August 18, 2023

The crash left one person dead and four people in the hospital. Photo: Jonah Schwarz

An 18-year-old woman was killed early Friday morning when a 25-year-old in a Mercedes Benz sped through a red light and t-boned the car she was traveling in on deadly Atlantic Avenue outside Trader Joe's in Cobble Hill, police and witnesses said.

The victim was in the front passenger seat of a 2019 Honda Accord on Atlantic at around 3:30 a.m. when her alleged killer blew through the red light traveling southbound on Court Street — sending their sedan onto the sidewalk right outside the grocery store, according to photo and video from local media.

A fruit seller nearby who saw the crash happened estimated the Mercedes blew the light at 50 miles per hour. The vehicles stopped at least 100 feet from the point of impact, the eyewitness said.

Two other passengers in the Accord, the 32-year-old driver and 29-year-old passenger, were also hospitalized along with a 24-year-old woman who was riding in the Mercedes, a police spokesperson said.

Police did not immediately release the names of the victims or the driver, who initially fled the scene before his arrest. Charges are pending, officials said.

The tragedy marked the year's second deadly collision on the deadly downtown Brooklyn stretch of Atlantic Avenue, which is designed to encourage speed despite the heavy presence of pedestrian activity. This April, a 27-year-old alleged drunk driver blew through a red light and killed Katherine Harris, 31, as she crossed at Clinton Street.

Court Street, meanwhile, where the alleged killer was driving at the time of the crash, has two wide lanes for vehicular traffic that also encourage dangerous late-night speeding. The strip between Borough Hall and Atlantic Avenue saw 24 reported crashes in 2022, 17 of which resulted in injuries, according to Crashmapper.

Local elected officials called on the city to install mid-block crossings along Atlantic Avenue in the wake of Harris's death, but no action has been taken.

"This is yet another tragic, avoidable death on this notoriously dangerous stretch of Atlantic Avenue," Council Member Lincoln Restler said after Friday's crash.

"Our community is unified in demanding immediate changes to dramatically slow down traffic, improve safety at intersections, and install new mid block crossings."

Traffic terror on Atlantic Avenue is seemingly unending — Streetsblog observed another collision in the area while reporting this story on Friday afternoon:

The aftermath of a Friday afternoon crash on Atlantic, just two blocks from the morning's tragedy. Photo: Jonah Schwarz

Additional reporting by Jonah Schwarz

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