Three Killed in Traffic in Three Days as City Council Dithers

Three pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes on consecutive days in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan this weekend.

When will Jessica Lappin and the City Council take action to stop the bloodshed on New York City streets?

At approximately 1:15 this morning, Andrew Schoonover, a 31-year-old from Florida, was struck by the driver of a city sanitation truck at the corner of Second Avenue and East 84th Street. NYPD told the Daily News and the Post that Schoonover tripped over trash bags and fell into the street. The driver was not charged.

Andrew Schoonover was at least the third pedestrian killed by a motorist in Jessica Lappin’s City Council district this year. In September, 65-year-old Pelagia Zingtapan was hit by a yellow cab driver, who was reportedly barreling through the intersection of 69th Street and First Avenue, horn blaring, at the time of the crash. In May, a 75-year-old man on crutches and wearing a reflective vest was run over by the driver of a box truck at First Avenue and 89th Street when he was caught in traffic as the signal changed.

In another serious crash, Elizabeth Brody, 28, suffered a brain injury in July when two yellow taxi drivers collided at Second Avenue and East 79th Street, sending one of the cabs spinning onto the sidewalk. No charges were reported filed in any of these crashes.

Lappin spoke at the City Council hearing on NYPD crash investigations in February. She was instrumental in opening up NYPD crash data, and has proposed a DOT office dedicated to road safety. But as of late, her agenda reflects a preoccupation with sidewalk bicycle riding and electric-assisted bikes, as reckless motorists continue to wreak havoc in her district and across the city. Twenty-nine pedestrians and six cyclists were killed by drivers in Lappin’s district between 1995 and 2009 (she was elected in 2005), while motorists injured 3,463 pedestrians and 974 cyclists during the same time span, according to DMV data compiled by Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat.

An unidentified man was killed in East New York Sunday afternoon, in the second of two fatal weekend hit-and-run crashes. CBS 2 reported that, according to NYPD, the 42-year-old victim was walking south on Vermont Place at around 1:15 p.m. when he was hit by the driver of a livery cab, who was westbound on Highland Boulevard. The man died at Brookdale Hospital.

“That corner is dangerous,” said Maria Pillco, who was with her family in Highland Park when the crash occurred, to the News. “There is no sidewalk. There’s no signal for pedestrians to cross the street.” Reports say police are checking out car services for the white Lincoln Town Car involved in the crash.

Saturday morning at approximately 7:45 a.m., 76-year-old Victor Florio was walking on Booth Memorial Avenue near 164th Street in Queens when the driver of a Toyota SUV jumped the curb and knocked him from the sidewalk, according to the News. Florio died before paramedics could locate him. Police later arrested Shiwoo Lee, 22, who reportedly ran from the scene on foot. According to court records, Lee was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury.

Victor Florio was killed in Peter Koo‘s council district. The Sunday crash occurred on the border of districts 30 and 37, represented by Elizabeth Crowley and Erik Martin Dilan, respectively.

The Brooklyn Paper reported on Friday that no definitive steps have been taken to advance the Crash Investigation Reform Act, which Council Speaker Christine Quinn has yet to support. Meanwhile, council transportation committee James Vacca has pledged to target e-bikes soon.