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Posts from the "Canarsie" Category

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Olvin Jahir Figueroa, 3, Third Child Killed by NYC Motorist in Five Days

Three children were killed by New York city motorists last week, including a 3-year-old hit by an alleged drunk driver in Queens Friday night. Hours earlier, a 64-year-old man was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Brooklyn.

Olvin Jahir Figueroa. Photo via Times Ledger

Olvin Jahir Figueroa and his mother were struck at Junction Boulevard and Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights just before midnight Friday, according to reports. Figueroa was at least the fourth child to die in city traffic since September 26. At least nine kids aged 12 and under have been killed by NYC motorists in 2013, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog.

Gilbert Echeverria, 35, struck Figueroa and his mother, Karina Osorio, with an Acura SUV as they were crossing the street. Echeverria removed the injured boy from the road and drove the victims to New York Hospital Queens, where Figueroa was pronounced dead. Osorio suffered a leg injury.

A family friend quoted by the Times Ledger said Figueroa was brought to the U.S. from Honduras earlier this year. “He liked to eat a lot,” said David Dobon. “He played with his friends all of the time.”

An anonymous source told the Post that Echeverria said he “had some shots and then ate some empanadas. I’m good.” According to court records, Echeverria was charged with driving while intoxicated, criminally negligent homicide, and a top charge of second degree vehicular manslaughter — a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in jail, and which also allows for no jail time, or probation.

Samuel Cohen-Eckstein, 12, was struck by the driver of a commercial van on Prospect Park West last Tuesday. A motorist making a left turn hit Allison Liao, 3, in Flushing on Sunday, October 6. No charges were filed for either crash.

At approximately 8:25 p.m. Friday, John Dozier was struck by the driver of a Chevrolet SUV as he was crossing Remsen Avenue near Avenue L in Canarsie, according to reports. The driver fled the scene.

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Zero Information From NYPD on Crash Involving Elderly Man in Brooklyn

NYPD says it has no knowledge of this event.

Details are scarce surrounding a serious traffic crash involving a Brooklyn pedestrian last week. While FDNY confirmed that the crash occurred, and that the victim was severely hurt, NYPD said the department has no information.

On April 17, @NYScanner — an anonymous Twitter feed that apparently gleans information from police scanners — tweeted that a pedestrian was struck at Foster Avenue and East 83rd Street, in Canarsie. The tweet said the victim was dead on arrival at Brookdale Hospital, and that the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad was on the scene.

FDNY got the call at 3:51 p.m., according to a spokesperson. The victim, an elderly man, was transported to Brookdale Hospital in cardiac arrest, the spokesperson said. FDNY could not confirm whether the victim was dead on arrival.

The NYPD public information office had no information on the crash. Nor did the 69th Precinct, where the crash occurred, though the officer we spoke with did attempt to help us. Streetsblog has been unable to find any media coverage.

This serious crash occurred in the 69th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 69th Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at the precinct, 9720 Foster Avenue, or St. Alban’s Church, 9408 Farragut Road. Call 718-257-6205 for information.

This crash occurred on the border of City Council districts represented by Lew Fidler and Jumaane Williams. To encourage Fidler to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7286 or LFidler@council.nyc.gov. Williams can be reached at 212-788-6859 and @JumaaneWilliams.

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Man Sees Driver Run Stop Sign and Kill His Wife; NYPD: “No Criminality”

A woman was killed by a bus driver in Brooklyn this morning. Despite an account from the victim’s husband that the driver blew a stop sign, NYPD has already declared that “No criminality is suspected.”

At around 7:15 a.m., Lorraine Ferguson, 48, was crossing at Avenue K and 105th Street in Canarsie to catch the BM2 when the driver of a bus carrying disabled children rounded the corner and ran her over, according to the Post.

The driver of this bus could be another beneficiary of NYPD's casual approach to deadly traffic crashes. Photo: Post

“I saw the woman under the bus. Her head was smashed,” said Tanzania Martin, 22. “She was totally gone. The bus driver never came out. I had to go in and ask, are you okay? He said yes.”

Police say no criminality is suspected and the driver stayed on the scene, but the investigation is ongoing.

“Had he stopped for one second, my wife would still be alive,” [Michael] Ferguson said. “My wife didn’t have a chance.”

“No criminality suspected” is NYPD’s way of saying that the driver was not intoxicated and did not flee the scene — and therefore will almost certainly face no criminal charges, and has a good chance of driving away without as much as a summons for careless driving.

It is almost unheard of for police to file charges against a driver who kills a pedestrian or cyclist unless they do so at the time of the crash. Even a driver who appears to have broken at least two laws — running a stop sign and failing to yield — can expect to be cleared of wrongdoing on the spot.

Like his colleagues in the other four boroughs, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes virtually never charges a killer motorist with a crime unless alcohol or drugs are involved, though exceptions may be made when the perpetrator leaves the scene.

This fatal crash occurred in the 69th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 69th Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at the precinct, 9720 Foster Avenue, or St. Alban’s Church, 9408 Farragut Road. Call 718-257-6205 for information.

The City Council district where Lorraine Ferguson was killed is represented by Charles Barron, who has been supportive of new car-free space for his constituents. To encourage Barron to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-6957, or wake up his Twitter feed @CharlesBarron12.

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Canarsie Pedestrian Luis Ruiz, 81, Killed Near Site of Fatal 2010 Crash

An 81-year-old man was fatally struck by two drivers on Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie on Friday, less than a block from where a teenager was killed by a motorist in 2010.

Luis Ruiz was the second pedestrian to die on Rockaway Parkway at Avenue J in the past 19 months. Photo: DNAinfo

According to reports, Luis Ruiz was crossing the street at Avenue J at around 8:57 p.m. when he was hit by the driver of a Mitsubishi Montero SUV. As he lay on the pavement, he was run over by a second motorist in a dark-colored sedan, who did not stop. Ruiz died at the scene.

Ruiz, who walked with a cane, was a widower and former merchant marine who had three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, family members told the Post and DNAinfo.

Police and witnesses said Ruiz was crossing against the light. No published reports that we could find made note of driver speed, but NBC reported that the Mitsubishi driver “slammed on [the] brakes” before striking Ruiz. Police are reportedly looking for the driver who fled the scene. The driver of the Mitsubishi was not charged.

In November 2010, 13-year-old student Sarah Parris was struck and killed by a motorist on Rockaway Parkway in front of Canarsie High School, on the same block where Ruiz was hit. The driver who killed Parris rammed a parked car after striking her, causing enough damage to both vehicles to indicate excessive speed. No charges were filed.

Though NYPD and the media are quick to declare victims responsible for their own deaths, in reality most crashes that kill city pedestrians and cyclists occur as a result of drivers breaking traffic laws. Fault rarely has any bearing on whether motorists are held responsible for causing death and injury in New York City. This is often true even when the driver kills and leaves the scene.

This fatal crash occurred in the 69th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 69th Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at the precinct or at St. Alban’s Church, 9408 Farragut Rd. Call the precinct at 718-257-6205 for information.

The City Council district where Luis Ruiz and Sarah Parris were killed is represented by Lew Fidler, whose most notable action concerning street safety as of late was a calculated show of bike lane skepticism. To encourage Fidler to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7286 or LFidler@council.nyc.gov.

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Tamon Robinson, of Brooklyn, Chased and Killed by NYPD Officers in Cruiser

The NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the death of a Brooklyn man who the department says was run down by officers in a police cruiser.

Tamon Robinson. Photo via Gothamist

Tamon Robinson, 27, was loading paving stones into an SUV at Bayview Houses in Canarsie on the morning of April 12 when, according to accounts, he was chased by officers who believed he was stealing the bricks. The Times reports:

Mr. Robinson ran toward his building, but a police car hit him before he reached it, according to a police report about the events, which took place around 5:30 a.m.

An autopsy on Friday determined the cause of death was an accident, the result of complications from blunt impact injuries to the head, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said.

Friends and family say Robinson, who sold scrap building materials in addition to his job as a barista, had permission to take the pavers. Regardless, initial coverage parroted the NYPD narrative — Cops Bag Brick Bandit! — and did not question how or why a man on foot was struck by officers giving chase in a police car.

After the Times broke the news of the internal affairs probe last Friday, DNAinfo reported that, according to witnesses, “police at the scene pulled Robinson from under the car, yelling ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ before bouncing him off the hood of the car.”

“It’s crazy what the officers did to my son,” said Robinson’s mother, Laverne Dobbinson.  “[They] ran him over then beat him up afterwards.”

Hours after the incident, investigators were examining a police cruiser, which was oddly positioned in a walkway inside the complex and had a dent in the front driver’s side fender.

The family has hired attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who specializes in police brutality cases and is conducting his own investigation. “I don’t know how we go from someone being chased by the police to someone being run over and killed,” Rubenstein told the Times.
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When Is NYC Law Enforcement Going to Use Hayley and Diego’s Law?

Sarah Parris

Sarah Parris

The driver who ran down 13-year-old Sarah Parris in front of Canarsie High School will apparently face no charges, despite indications in published reports that he disregarded a stop sign extended by a school bus driver.

Parris was killed while crossing Rockaway Parkway midblock to reach Canarsie High School, just before 8:00 a.m. Monday morning — the start of the school day. The Post reported that Parris’s friend, Akili Charles, was crossing with her and saw the motorist, Mohamed Diakite, drive past a school bus and ignore the stop sign:

The distraught pal said a passing school-bus driver had spotted the girls trying to cross the street, and put out its stop sign to help them make it safely to the other side, but the BMW “kept going.”

After striking Parris, Diakite then smashed into a car parked by the curb:

Photo: Daily News/

Photo: Daily News

The Daily News reported the next day that police had determined that speed was not a factor, and that Diakite passed the school bus on the right. The police sources in the story did not say the bus had come to a stop:

The 13-year-old from Brownsville crossed in front of a school bus that was driving in the left southbound lane, cops said. Diakite, driving in the right southbound lane, couldn’t see the girl until it was too late. 

If the driver did disobey a bus’s stop sign in front of a school zone and was exceeding the speed limit, criminal negligence would seem to be an option for law enforcement to pursue. Another option for police and prosecutors would be to file a charge of careless driving using the newly enacted Hayley and Diego’s law. Under the law, drivers who injure pedestrians or cyclists while failing to exercise due care are subject to mandatory drivers’ ed, and could be sentenced to fines of up to $750, jail time of up to 15 days, and a license suspension of up to six months.

Does killing a student crossing in front of a school bus right in front of a high school constitute a failure to exercise due care?

The office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes gave no indication that prosecutors will press charges either. “There have been no allegations of criminality,” a spokesperson told Streetsblog.

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Driver Hits And Kills 13-Year-Old Crossing Street in Front of High School

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A 13-year-old crossing Rockaway Parkway to attend Canarsie High School was hit and killed this morning. Image: Google Street View.

A driver struck and killed a 13-year-old girl this morning, apparently as she tried to walk to school. The driver, a male in his 40s, hit the victim on Rockaway Parkway at 7:50 this morning, according to the NYPD. She was pronounced dead at Brookdale Hospital.

The victim was likely on her way to attend Canarsie High School, according to a report in the Daily News. She was crossing mid-block on a path to the school’s front door when the driver struck her. The school, which is in the process of being closed by the Department of Education, has an enrollment of 881 students.

After hitting the student, the driver swerved into a parked car on the side of the road. The driver stayed at the scene until he was taken to Brookdale for trauma treatment, according to the police. NYPD has not filed charges.