A truck driver struck and killed a woman outside the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx last week. He has been charged with reckless driving and failure to yield.
The victim, 29-year-old Heather Lough, was heading to her job at the botanical garden on the morning of Wednesday, April 27, when Robert Owens, 45, hit her with a commercial box truck, according to NYPD and an online memorial page established to raise funds for Lough’s burial expenses.
The crash happened at around 9:30 a.m. outside NYBG’s Mosholu Gate. Police said Owens drove out of the botanical garden and made a left turn onto Southern Boulevard, striking Lough with the front bumper of the truck on the passenger side. An anonymous tipster told Streetsblog witnesses saw Owens “on his phone” at the time of the collision.
NYPD said Lough was leaving the Metro-North Botanical Garden Station, across the street from the NYBG, when she was struck. It’s not clear if Lough was biking or walking (the tipster said Lough was seen walking her bike), but in either case, she would have had the right of way.
Lough was taken to Jacobi Hospital with head and body trauma. She died on Monday.
Police charged Owens, who lives in Manhattan, with reckless driving. He was also charged under the city’s Right of Way Law. Both offenses are unclassified misdemeanors. The NYPD public information office said the department’s Collision Investigation Squad is still investigating the crash.
A second source who works at NYBG and asked to remain anonymous said the intersection is “very dangerous” and drivers “regularly speed through the light.”
“She was wearing her helmet, followed the signs, and did everything right,” Lough’s memorial page reads. “However, the driver was not paying attention, and ran over her.”
It’s unknown who owns the truck Owens was driving. A botanical garden representative told Streetsblog Owens does not work there.