NYC’s Hit-and-Run Epidemic Claims Teenager Luis Bravo in Woodside

Last weekend, another New York City pedestrian was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Luis Bravo with his sister. Photo via DNAinfo

Luis Bravo, whose age was reported as 18 and 19, was walking with a friend east on Broadway in Woodside at around 11 p.m. Saturday when he was hit by the driver of a dark-colored sedan, who was traveling south on 58th Street, according to DNAinfo and the Times Ledger.

Bravo was at least the fifth NYC pedestrian in a 15-day period to be killed by a motorist who fled the scene. In three of the five crashes, the driver was not immediately caught or identified.

At yesterday’s City Council oversight hearing, NYPD brass said that in 2012 there were 58 hit-and-run crashes investigated by what’s now known as the Collision Investigation Squad. Police made 15 arrests for leaving the scene — meaning arrests were made in only 26 percent of cases investigated.

From DNAinfo:

Gustavo Balletta, a close friend of Bravo’s, said the two of them were on their way home from a grocery store, Stop & Shop, when Bravo was hit.

Balletta said he had crossed the street just before Bravo, but turned around to find his friend on the ground.

“I started freaking out, trying to call 911, trying to figure out what happened. I couldn’t react,” Balletta said. He said Bravo was still breathing after he was hit.

Bravo was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, but declared dead on arrival.

Bravo was a student at New York City College of Technology. He is survived by his father, who lives in Ecuador, his mother and younger sister, DNAinfo reports.

“My brother was a dad to me, he was a hero,” said Bravo’s sister, to NY1. “He used to help me with basketball, with my homework, with everything else now he’s gone and I don’t know what to do.”

NYPD has asked the public for tips. Police gave no definitive answer when Streetsblog called the NYPD public information office to ask if an arrest had been made. “Not that I’m aware of,” a spokesperson said.

“I am destroyed,” said Balletta. “I am not going to have my friend anymore. I don’t know what to do. Whoever did this — I hope they catch him.”

This fatal crash occurred in the 108th Precinct, where at least four pedestrians have been killed by drivers in 2013, and where officers wrote 321 speeding tickets this year as of August. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 108th Precinct council meetings happen at 7 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th Street, 1st floor. Call 718-784-5420 for information.

The City Council district where Luis Bravo was killed is represented by Jimmy Van Bramer, who is a consistent voice for safer streets. In response to this crash and complaints from locals about speeding drivers, this morning Van Bramer held a press conference urging DOT and NYPD to make Broadway a safer street. We’ll have more on the presser in a separate post later today.

To encourage Van Bramer to keep up efforts to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7370, jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov or @JimmyVanBramer.