Three people were killed by motorists in NYC since last Friday, including two hit-and-run victims. Two of the victims were also senior citizens.
At around 4:40 a.m. Friday, a motorist in a dark-colored car fatally struck Antonio Ramirez, 40, at Audubon Avenue and 176th Street in Washington Heights, then fled the scene, according to reports. Along with neighborhood advocates, City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, and Assembly Member Gabriela Rosa blasted DOT after the crash for rejecting a Slow Zone for the area.
From the Post:
Friday’s fatality created a haunting scene for several schools near the crash, including Kipp Star Elementary on 177th Street.
Many young children and parents at the school had to walk past Ramirez’s body, which was wrapped in a white sheet. Some teachers left the building and tried to distract the students so they wouldn’t see it.
Frustrated mom Ayiesha Washington, 27, who has a son in kindergarten, said, “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for three years, and this is the millionth accident.”
Rodriguez and Espaillat, who rarely make an issue of street safety, said this section of Washington Heights is plagued by speeding drivers coming off the George Washington Bridge and the Cross Bronx Expressway.
“This tragic hit-and-run, less than a block from a school building, truly hits home for the people of Washington Heights, particularly when so many have raised the issue of high speeds in the area to the Department of Transportation,” said Rodriguez, in a press release. “It is so easy for deaths such as these to be avoided.”
Since the program began in 2011, DOT routinely gets many more Slow Zone applications annually than it approves. The press release from Upper Manhattan electeds incorrectly claims DOT rejected 15 of 70 applications this year, when the agency actually approved 15 of 74 applications.
Rodriguez, Espaillat, and Rosa made only a passing reference to the lack of traffic law enforcement in Washington Heights in their press release, and did not mention NYPD directly. The 33rd Precinct, where the crash occurred, had issued 273 speeding tickets this year as of August, and cited 154 drivers for speeding in all of 2012.
Ramirez worked at a restaurant and was a former building super. He was married with two kids, a 14-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son.
“This biggest part of it is the dance you have with your dad,” Leslie Ramirez told WNBC. “And that man took that dance away from me. He took away that one special person I had in my life.”
The Daily News reported that, according to police, the killer was driving an Infiniti, and Ramirez was “walking against the light.” As of earlier this week, at least one outlet was reporting the driver ran a red light, but that version of the story is no longer online. An NYPD spokesperson said today that the public information office did not have details on how the crash occurred. The motorist who killed Antonio Ramirez remains at large.