A Queens senior struck by an alleged drunk driver last week was at least the fourth person to die in traffic in Eric Ulrich’s City Council district in the last six months.
John Eberling, 76, was crossing Jamaica Avenue at 80th Street at approximately 4:30 on the afternoon of February 27 when he was struck by an SUV driven by Viveshdyal Thakoordyal, according to reports.
Eberling, a retired warehouse manager, was declared dead on arrival at Jamaica Hospital.
“He was the sweetest man you could ever know,” said Eberling’s niece, Diana Freeman, to the Daily News. “When my father died, he stepped in and became my surrogate father. He gave me away at my wedding.”
Thakoordyal, 45, was charged with first degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, according to online court records.
Though Eberling’s alleged killer was arrested and charged, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has a history of granting favorable deals in DWI death cases.
Last December, Demitrios Matsoukatidis received probation for killing Ditmars senior Lizardo Aldama. Brown’s office reported that Matsoukatidis had a blood alcohol content of .16, twice the legal limit for driving. He was charged with second degree manslaughter and DWI.
One year ago, Kent Lowrie pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received five years probation, a $1,000 fine, and a six-month license revocation for the death of 6-year-old Zhaneya Butcher in Jamaica. According to reports, Brown’s office feared Lowrie was not drunk enough to get a manslaughter conviction.
This fatal crash occurred in the 102nd Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain Henry Sautner, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 102nd Precinct council meetings happen at 7:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at Richmond Hill Library, 118-14 Hillside Ave. Call 718-805-3215 for information.
The City Council district where John Eberling was killed is represented by Eric Ulrich, known among other things for telling New Yorkers concerned about traffic killings to “get a life.” Since last September, at least three other people have lost their lives to motorists in Ulrich’s district: Francisco Camacho, age 59; Ramon Russel, 37; and Sheena Mathew; 38. To encourage Ulrich to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7069, email@example.com or @eric_ulrich.