NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance are reportedly targeting a crossing guard for her supposed role in the death of 6-year-old Amar Diarrassouba, who was killed by a truck driver in East Harlem Thursday morning. Meanwhile, a local businessman and community board member who waged a campaign against pedestrian refuges and protected bike lanes on First and Second Avenues has publicly pinned the blame on the victim’s 9-year-old brother.
Robert Carroll was issued summonses for failure to yield and failure to exercise due care, according to the Post. Reports say Carroll was turning right from E. 117th Street onto First Avenue when he hit Amar with a rear tire of the tractor-trailer. Amar and older brother Youssouf were crossing First Avenue east to west, on their way to nearby P.S. 155.
Community Board 11 endorsed protected bike lanes and pedestrian refuges on First and Second Avenues from 96th to 125th Streets in September 2011, but rescinded its support two months later, when restaurant owners Frank Brija and Erik Mayor, who are also on the board, organized against the project.
Brija and Mayor, owners of Patsy’s Pizza and Milk Burger, respectively, said businesses were not contacted about the proposal for protected lanes and pedestrian islands, a claim refuted by DOT. They also said the safety measures would make traffic congestion worse and increase asthma rates.
The board ultimately endorsed the plan, which had broad community support, a second time, in March 2012. Construction was supposed to begin last spring, but was pushed back after the board waffled. While it’s impossible to know how the First Avenue redesign would have affected this crash, a narrower roadway may have saved Amar’s life by forcing Carroll to make a tighter, slower turn.
On Streetsblog and Twitter this morning, attorney Steve Vaccaro noted that, had the project proceeded as planned, the crash that killed Amar Diarrassouba might not have happened. In response, Mayor tweeted: “Steve you are pathetic to place blame on us. The child was being walked by his nine year old brother who did not pay attention.”
Erik Mayor, owner of Milk Burger and member of CB 11, waged a campaign against safety measures for the intersection where Amar was killed.