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Police Blame Woman for Her Own Death After She Trips in Front of SUV

A 68-year-old woman is dead after police said she ‘tripped and fell” in front of an SUV driver who then ran right over her, dragging her body across a notoriously treacherous Williamsburg intersection.

9:00 PM EDT on October 19, 2023

Photo: Liam Quigley |

Police are blaming a woman for her own death after she “tripped and fell” in front of this white SUV.

A 68-year-old woman is dead after police said she ‘tripped and fell” in front of an SUV driver who then ran right over her, dragging her body across a notoriously treacherous Williamsburg intersection on Wednesday morning — the latest example of a car driver killing a vulnerable road user, who then got blamed by the NYPD.

The unidentified 72-year-old driver of a 2012 white Jeep Grand Cherokee was heading east on Broadway at about 10:30 a.m. when she drove over Aurora Soto, who, cops say, had fallen while attempting to cross the chaotic junction near Flushing Avenue, where traffic diverges in four different directions, and where drivers consistently blow past red lights and block the crosswalk. 

A witness told reporter Liam Quigley on the scene that Soto had tripped over a yellow bump-out installed by the Department of Transportation. 

“Once she tripped, the Jeep was already coming, and dragged her,” said 32-year-old Mohamed Sy Savane.

The driver didn’t stop until witnesses, including Savane, flagged her down, banging on her car windows to get her to pull over.

Police say the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad is still investigating the fatal crash but that no criminality is suspected, and let the driver go without a ticket or a summons. The plate associated with the driver’s Jeep has racked up two tickets for speeding in a school zone and another for running a red light since August, according to city data compiled by How's My Driving.

Meanwhile, cops were quick to fault Soto, whose blood had spilled out into the roadway, for tripping.

The victim's blood in the middle of the street. Photo: Liam Quigley

The NYPD has a long and sordid history of victim-blaming, Streetsblog has reported over the years. One notorious incident was back in 2019, when police initially blamed 62-year-old MD Abul Bashar for his own death, claiming he was riding his e-bike on the sidewalk when he was run over and killed by a private sanitation truck driver in Gowanus. But cops later secretly altered the official police report to say Bashar was actually doing what he was supposed to be doing — riding on the street and traveling with a green light — when he was fatally run over. That same year, cops similarly blamed 20-year-old cyclist Robyn Hightman for their own death, telling Gothamist that maybe they would still be alive if they had used the bike lane.

All the crashes since 2019 at just one chaotic Brooklyn intersection. Click on the map for an interactive view.Crash Mapper

Despite the NYPD's narrative, Broadway between Thornton Street and Sumner Place is an exceptionally dangerous 650 feet of roadway. Since January 2019, there have been 197 reported crashes, causing injuries to 90 people, including 23 cyclists and 26 pedestrians, according to city stats compiled by Crash Mapper. One other pedestrian has been killed.

The DOT did not respond to a request for comment. 

Additional reporting by Liam Quigley 

This is a breaking story and will be updated with more information. 

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