Driver Jumps Long Island City Curb, Killing Tenzin Drudak, 16, on Sidewalk

A driver jumped the curb in Long Island City today, plowing into a group of pedestrians who were waiting for a crossing signal. Tenzin Drudak, 16, died, and four others were injured. Photo: Niko J. Kallianiotis/NYT

At approximately 10:30 this morning, a minivan driver that witnesses say was speeding eastbound on Thomson Avenue in Long Island City crossed oncoming traffic, jumped the curb, and struck a group of students on the sidewalk at the corner with 30th Street, near Skillman Avenue. The crash killed Tenzin Drudak, 16, and left four others injured.

Drudak was a student at Applied Communications High School on Thomson Avenue. The four injured pedestrians, all students at adjacent LaGuardia Community College, were transported to Elmhurst Hospital Center in stable condition.

The driver exited the vehicle after the crash, screaming, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” according to witnesses. WCBS reports that the driver was taken from the scene in handcuffs. Streetsblog has an inquiry in with NYPD to see if charges are being filed.

This sidewalk is often crowded with students waiting to cross Thomson Avenue after getting off the Q39 bus, and the street also sees heavy traffic from drivers on their way to and from the free Queensboro Bridge.

Today’s fatality is the latest in a series of crashes in which motorists have driven off the roadway and injured or killed pedestrians on the sidewalk. On February 12, an 89 year-old man was seriously injured when an SUV driver jumped the curb on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, smashing into Saks Fifth Avenue. On February 22, Brooklyn Heights resident Martha Atwater, 48, was killed just blocks from home when a pickup truck driver drove onto the sidewalk and crushed her. Just two days later, a pedestrian was killed at Third Avenue and East 27th Street in Manhattan after a two-car collision sent a taxi careening onto the sidewalk. On March 1, a man was seriously injured on the sidewalk at 8th Avenue and 51st Street after a driver jumped the curb.

The City Council district where Tenzin Drudak was killed is represented by Jimmy Van Bramer. To encourage Van Bramer to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7370, jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov or @JimmyVanBramer.

This post has been updated with the correct name of the deceased.