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Another Pedestrian Killed by a Truck Driver; No Charge for Fatal Crash

Another truck driver has killed another pedestrian — and has not been charged for the crash, despite having made an illegal turn on Tuesday morning.

Photo: Google|

The driver received no charges, despite the clear “no turn” sign.

Another truck driver has killed another pedestrian — and has not been charged for the crash, despite having made an illegal turn on Tuesday morning.

According to police, a 38-year-old city Department of Environmental Protection truck driver was driving eastbound on 57th Avenue in Middle Village at around 8:30 a.m. when he turned right onto 80th Street — a turn that is illegal for truck drivers unless they are making local deliveries.

Cops said the F750 truck driver — Mitchell Roderick, 38, of Valley Stream on Long Island — struck Natalia Garcia-Valencia, 43, as she crossed 80th Street, causing severe head and body trauma. Garcia-Valencia was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where she died. The driver remained on the scene and has not been charged for the crash, but an NYPD spokesperson said Roderick was held on "an outstanding warrant" from 2013 that is unrelated to this incident.

The driver had no signs of impairment and had a valid driver's license, police said.

The Council member is demanding that the city Department of Transportation evaluate the intersection, which it does after every fatal crash — but it's unclear if the agency will prioritize any safety improvements. There were 10 reported crashes at that corner in the four years between 2020 and 2023, according to city records. Those crashes injured 16 people, including five cyclists and two pedestrians.

Truck drivers cause a disproportionate number of fatalities from crashes because of the size of the vehicles. According to data from Transportation Alternatives, truck, tractor-trailer and pickup drivers killed 49 people in 2023, which was 19 percent of all 260 fatalities last year. And more than 62 percent of pedestrians killed in the Vision Zero era were fatally injured by SUVs, trucks, or other large vehicles.

And the number of cyclists killed by drivers of SUVs, pickups, and large vehicles rose 76 percent from the first half of Vision Zero (2014-2018) to the second half (2019-2023).

And according to the most recent Mayor's Management Report [PDF, page 453], drivers working for the Department of Environmental Protection are getting less safe, rather than more. In fiscal year 2022, the agency's workers caused 214 crashes. In the following 12 months, they caused 269, an increase of 25 percent.

Last week, a truck driver killed a pedestrian in Brooklyn — using the same truck that another driver used to kill a crossing guard in Queens last year. The driver in last week's crash has not been charged. The company operating the vehicles has a long record of reckless driving.

The DEP did not initially respond to a request for comment. After publication of this story, agency spokesman Ed Timbers said DEP is "devastated for the family of the woman who lost her life today."

He added that the driver joined the agency in February 2023 and had completed the agency's safe-driving course. Mitchell won't be driving for the agency until the investigation is completed, Timbers added.

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