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No Homicide Charge for Unlicensed Curb-Jumping Driver Who Killed SI Woman

A motorist who crashed on a Staten Island sidewalk was charged by District Attorney Dan Donovan with driving without a license and drug possession, but not for killing one pedestrian and hospitalizing another.

Christal Aliotta. Photo via Staten Island Advance

Christal Aliotta. Photo via SI Advance

On the afternoon of June 9, a motorist jumped the curb and hit 31-year-old Christal Aliotta and her 20-year-old cousin Stephanie Canecchio as they walked along Hylan Boulevard at Cleveland Avenue in Great Kills. Aliotta, the mother of two young daughters, died at the scene. She was struck after reportedly pushing her cousin out of the driver’s path.

Police arrested Michael Fox, 23, who according to a criminal court complaint was found at the scene inside a 2005 Honda Accord with the engine running. The complaint says officers discovered a “hypodermic syringe, spoon with residue and tourniquet band” in the car, and found “two glassines containing heroin residue” in Fox’s pockets. Fox’s license had been suspended on May 23 for failure to answer a traffic summons, according to the complaint and the Staten Island Advance.

Fox was charged with possession of a controlled substance and third degree aggravated unlicensed operation, both misdemeanors. He was not charged with homicide or assault for killing Aliotta and injuring Canecchio. The criminal court complaint and arrest report only mention the victims in passing.

A spokesperson for Donovan’s office told Streetsblog prosecutors have Fox’s toxicology report, but declined to say what the results were. “[W]e are still reviewing them as the case is ongoing,” the spokesperson said via email.

On the day of her daughter’s wake, Lisa Canecchio said she wants Donovan to upgrade charges against Fox. From the Advance:

Read more…

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NYPD: 1,263 Pedestrians and Cyclists Injured, 11 Killed in Traffic in May

Image: NYPD

Image: NYPD

Twenty-five people died in New York City traffic in May, and 4,621 were injured, according to the monthly NYPD crash data report [PDF].

As of the end of May, 54 pedestrians and cyclists were reported killed by city motorists this year, and 5,669 injured, compared to 64 deaths and 6,169 injuries for the same period in 2013.

Citywide, at least 10 pedestrians and two cyclists were fatally struck by drivers: three pedestrians in Manhattan; four pedestrians in Brooklyn; and three pedestrians and two cyclists in Queens. Among the victims were Rosa Anidjar, Felipe Palacios, Anthony Githere, Elliot Mintzer, William Faison, Galina Truglio, Charity Hicks, an unnamed female pedestrian in Manhattan, an unnamed male cyclist in Queens, two unidentified pedestrians in Brooklyn, and one unidentified pedestrian in Queens.

The NYPD report indicates there were nine pedestrian fatalities in May, but data compiled by Streetsblog from media sources and our own reporting show 10 pedestrian deaths.

Across the city, 882 pedestrians and 381 cyclists were reported hurt in collisions with motor vehicles. Per NYPD policy, few of these crashes were investigated by trained officers.

Of 12 fatal crashes reported by Streetsblog and other outlets, no motorists were known to have been charged for causing a death. Historically, nearly half of motorists who kill a New York City pedestrian or cyclist do not receive so much as a citation for careless driving.

Eleven motorists and three passengers died in the city in May; 1,557 and 1,801 were injured, respectively.

There were 18,172 motor vehicle crashes in the city in May, including 3,318 that resulted in injury or death.

Download May NYPD summons data here. NYPD posts geocoded crash data here. Crash and summons data from prior months is available in multiple formats here.

After the jump: contributing factors for crashes resulting in injury and death.

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Matthew Brenner, 29, Killed Earlier This Month on Sands Street

Matthew Brenner, who was struck by a motorist on Sands Street at an on-ramp to the BQE near the Manhattan Bridge bike path on July 6, died of his injuries soon after, his family and friends report.

Matt Brenner. Photo courtesy Leslie Newman.

Matt Brenner. Photo courtesy Leslie Newman.

“We’re still just kind of reeling from all this,” said Leslie Newman, Brenner’s half-sister. “We don’t really know much. We don’t have a police report yet. The police did not try and call my stepmom or any of us.”

NYPD says it received a call at 9:35 p.m. on Sunday, July 6. Brenner, 29, was struck by a 25-year-old woman driving a 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan as she pulled onto a ramp for the northbound Brooklyn Queens Expressway from Sands Street. She stayed on the scene; he was transported to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition with head trauma. Today, police said the investigation remains open and no charges have been filed.

Police say Brenner was riding against traffic on the eastbound side of Sands Street when he was struck. “It sounds surprising. There’s well-defined bike lanes in that area,” said Patrick Malloy, one of Brenner’s friends. “He was a well-versed urban cyclist. He wouldn’t try something like that.”

“The impact that I saw on the windshield of the car was on the far edge of the passenger side, so he was really close to the barrier,” said Braden King, who passed the crash scene on his way home just after 10 p.m. and has helped connect the family to resources in New York since then. “It’s obvious that the car was traveling pretty quickly,” he said. “It’s an on-ramp to the BQE.”

Malloy had heard from Brenner’s mother that he could have been walking his bike across the ramp entrance from the sidewalk and was attempting to get over the barrier separating the road from the Manhattan Bridge bike path when he was struck. The south side of Sands lacks crosswalks at the BQE ramps, and there is no sidewalk between the bike path railing and the roadbed. DOT traffic cameras are positioned on this stretch of roadway and would likely have captured the collision. The family has hired an attorney to investigate the crash.

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The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage.

Jean Chambers, pictured with her husband and daughter, was killed by a driver making a left turn at an Upper West Side intersection where a safety study recommended a ban on left turns. The plan was not endorsed by Community Board 7 and DOT did not implement it. Photo: Facebook via Daily News

Jean Chambers, pictured with her husband and daughter, was killed by a driver making a left turn at an Upper West Side intersection where a safety study recommended a ban on left turns. The plan was not endorsed by Community Board 7 and DOT did not implement it. Photo: Facebook via Daily News

Fatal Crashes (14 Killed Since 6/13; 102 This Year*)

  • UWS: Jean Chambers, 61, Hit by Turning Driver in Crosswalk at Intersection Where Safety Improvements Were Recommended in 2013 (Streetsblog)
  • Mill Basin: Joie Sellers, 12, Run Down on Sidewalk by Hit-and-Run Driver in Stolen Minivan; Sister and Mother Injured; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (GothamistNewsPost)***
  • Chelsea: Jacqueline Haeflinger, 58, Backed Over by DSNY Worker While Trying to Save Dog (NYT)***
  • Jackson Heights: Drunk Unlicensed Driver Kills Pedestrian on Roosevelt Ave. (Times Ledger)
  • Marine Park: Bryan Loughran, 32, Struck by Hit-and-Run Driver on Gerritsen Ave. (Post)***
  • Sheepshead Bay: Tow Truck Driver Runs Over Pedestrian in Parking Lot (NY1)**
  • Auburndale: Ethel Zaremba, 91, Drives Over Center Median Into Pole (Courier)
  • Brooklyn Heights: Leroy Samuel, 22, Drives Into Tractor Trailer While Fleeing NYPD (DNA)
  • East Flatbush: Marquis Willis, 22, Passenger Killed When Drunk Driver Hits Sanitation Truck (DNA)
  • Far Rockaway: Marcus Joel, 26, Runs Motorcycle Into Curb, Utility Pole (TL)
  • Throgs Neck: Corri Samuels, 35, Drives Motorcycle Into Pole on Cross Bronx Expwy. (DNA)
  • Queens Village: Motorcyclist Struck by Driver Making Left Turn (WNYC)
  • Bayside: DSNY Worker Stephen Frosch, 43, Pinned by Street Sweeper Driver (PostWNBC)**
  • Schuylerville: Speeding Driver Crashes Through Overpass Onto Bruckner Expwy. (NewsNews 12)**

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Another UWS Pedestrian Killed as Safety Recommendations Sit on the Shelf

Existing conditions at W. 95th Street and West End Avenue, where a driver fatally struck Jean Chambers Thursday. Chamber was hit in the north crosswalk as the driver turned left from W. 95th onto northbound West End Ave. Image: Nelson\Nygaard

Existing conditions at W. 95th Street and West End Avenue, where a driver fatally struck Jean Chambers Thursday. Chambers was hit in the north crosswalk as the driver turned left from W. 95th onto northbound West End Ave. Image: Nelson\Nygaard

A proposal for safety improvements on the Upper West Side might have prevented the crash that killed a pedestrian Thursday, but the plan was not acted upon by Community Board 7 or DOT.

At approximately 11 a.m. yesterday a 50-year-old motorist turning left from W. 95th Street onto West End Avenue struck Jean Chambers in the crosswalk, knocking her underneath the Ford SUV he was driving, according to reports.

Jean Chambers. Photo via DNAinfo

Jean Chambers. Photo via DNAinfo

From DNAinfo:

“She had the walk sign and the light was green for the car too,” said doorman Bilbil Loka, 32, who witnessed the accident from his post at 710 West End Ave. “But the driver made a very short left turn, going uptown.”

“He dragged her for almost 30 feet, everybody heard her scream.”

Chambers, an artist who lived nearby, was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. She was 61.

The intersection where Chambers was killed was one of a number of Upper West Side crossings included in a 2013 pedestrian safety study by consulting firm Nelson\Nygaard [PDF]. The study was commissioned by local City Council members, but Community Board 7 sat on the report’s recommendations until a series of pedestrian deaths this year spurred residents to demand action from the city.

Following the deaths of  Cooper StockAlexander Shear, and Samantha Lee — all killed by drivers within the study area last January — DOT added pedestrian space and turn restrictions at Broadway and W. 96th Street, where Lee was struck.

Plans for other intersections remain on the shelf, despite known hazards to pedestrians. The study, for example, describes conditions that led to the crash that killed Jean Chambers: “vehicles turn left northbound from W 95 St onto West End Ave at wide angles and high speeds, creating pedestrian conflicts.”

In the wake of the fourth pedestrian fatality in the same immediate area this year, DOT says it may give pedestrians more crossing time at the intersection where yesterday’s crash occurred, will institute a left turn ban there for 10 hours a week, and is considering a new speed bump.

To slow drivers down, Nelson\Nygaard recommends more substantial changes, including curb extensions, pedestrian islands, and banning left turns.

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NYPD: 1,160 Pedestrians and Cyclists Injured, Nine Killed in Traffic in April

Image: NYPD

Image: NYPD

Twenty-one people died in New York City traffic in April, and 4,007 were injured, according to the latest NYPD crash data report [PDF].

As of the end of April, 42 pedestrians and cyclists were reported killed by city motorists this year, and 4,406 injured, compared to 56 deaths and 4,793 injuries for the same period in 2013.

Citywide, at least eight pedestrians and one cyclist were fatally struck by drivers: two pedestrians in Manhattan; one pedestrian in the Bronx; two pedestrians and one cyclist in Brooklyn; and three pedestrians in Queens. Among the victims were Dwayne Dwyer, Angel Torres, Kelly Gordon, William Guevara-Delgado, Oscar Pauzhi, Bonnie Lewin, and one unidentified pedestrian each in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. Motorists killed at least one senior in April: Bonnie Lewin, 65.

Across the city, 854 pedestrians and 306 cyclists were reported hurt in collisions with motor vehicles. Per NYPD policy, few of these crashes were investigated by trained officers.

Of nine fatal crashes reported by Streetsblog and other outlets, no motorists were known to have been charged for causing a death. Historically, nearly half of motorists who kill a New York City pedestrian or cyclist do not receive so much as a citation for careless driving.

Six motorists and six passengers died in the city in April; 1,305 and 1,542 were injured, respectively.

There were 16,265 motor vehicle crashes in the city last month, including 2,977 that resulted in injury or death.

NYPD summons data for April is not online as of this writing. NYPD posts geocoded crash data here. Crash and summons data from prior months is available in multiple formats here.

After the jump: contributing factors for crashes resulting in injury and death.

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The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage.

Xochil Zack Fortune was reportedly struck by two drivers while riding a bike in Bushwick. Since Fortune was alive when transported from the crash scene, and NYPD reportedly had no immediate knowledge of his death, it is not known if ##http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/09/30/to-reform-nypd-crash-investigations-theres-a-lot-more-work-to-do/##police investigated the crash##. Photo: ##http://www.furoche.com/##Furoche.com##

Xochil Zack Fortune was reportedly struck by two drivers while riding a bike in Bushwick. Since Fortune was alive when transported from the crash scene, and NYPD reportedly had no immediate knowledge of his death, it is not known if police investigated the crash. Photo: Furoche.com

Fatal Crashes (6 Killed This Week; 88 This Year; 4 Drivers Charged*)

  • Bushwick: Xochil Zack Fortune Struck on Bicycle, Possibly by Two Motorists (GothamistBklyn Paper)
  • Willets Point: 40-Year-Old Cyclist Killed by Minivan Driver on Roosevelt Avenue; Driver Ticketed for Speeding, NYPD “Investigation Ongoing” (Streetsblog)
  • New Springville: Christal Aliotta, 31, One of Two Victims Struck on Sidewalk; Driver Charged With Drug Possession, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (Streetsblog)**
  • Laurelton: Cyclist Wayne White, 50, Killed in Hit-and-Run on North Conduit Ave. (NewsWCBS)
  • South Ozone Park: 58-Year-Old Pedestrian Killed on North Conduit Ave.; No Charges (Gothamist, News)
  • Washington Heights: Tractor-Trailer Driver Hits Second Truck on George Washington Bridge (DNA, Fox)

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Anonymous NYPD Sources Blame Another Victim of Motorist Violence

Area of Roosevelt Avenue where a speeding driver killed a cyclist Tuesday afternoon. Image: Google Maps

Area of Roosevelt Avenue where a speeding driver killed a cyclist Tuesday afternoon. Image: Google Maps

A motorist killed a cyclist near Citi Field Tuesday afternoon. The driver was ticketed for speeding, but true to form, anonymous police sources and the media blamed the victim for his own death.

The crash happened on Roosevelt Avenue near 126th Street, under the elevated 7 train on the perimeter of the stadium, at around 12:48 p.m. According to NYPD and published reports, the driver of a Mercury minivan hit the cyclist from behind.

Photos and video of the scene show that the frame of the victim’s bike was snapped into pieces, with the minivan perpendicular to the sidewalk, its windshield shattered. The victim, whose name had not been released by police as of this morning, died at the scene.

The Post and DNAinfo reported that, according to unnamed police sources, the cyclist “cut in front” or “swerved into the path” of the driver. The NYPD spokesperson we spoke to had no such information. The spokesperson said police summonsed the driver for speeding — a crucial detail that was not reported in the press. So once again, unnamed NYPD personnel selectively leaked information that served to blame the victim, and reporters repeated it without question.

At this point the speeding ticket is the sole charge against the driver. The investigation into the crash is ongoing, NYPD told Streetsblog.

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Sidewalk-Jumping Driver Kills One Pedestrian, Injures Another in Great Kills

Photos from the scene of a Monday afternoon crash show a Honda on the sidewalk on the northeast corner of Hylan Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue. Image: Google Maps

The northwest corner of Hylan Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue. Image: Google Maps

Update: The victim who died in this crash was identified as Christal Aliotta, 31. As of Tuesday the driver, 23-year-old Michael Fox, was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation and drug possession, according to the Advance.

Police say charges are pending after a curb-jumping driver killed one pedestrian and injured another in Staten Island this afternoon.

At around 1:44 p.m. a motorist drove onto the sidewalk at Hylan Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue in Great Kills, striking two women, according to the Staten Island Advance. An FDNY spokesperson said two people were transported but did not have information on their conditions. The Advance reported that, according to NYPD, one victim died at the scene, and the other was hospitalized in stable condition.

A photo published by the Advance shows a tan Honda sedan with extensive front end damage on a sidewalk surrounded by police tape. ”Several personal items, including a bag and shoes, were strewn about the sidewalk nearby,” the Advance reported.

NYPD told Streetsblog charges against the driver were forthcoming. Police had not released the names of anyone involved in the crash as of this writing.

New York City motorists have fatally struck at least 17 pedestrians on sidewalks, in open fields, and in places of business since January 2013, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog.

This fatal crash occurred in the 122nd Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain Robert Bocchino, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 122nd Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the precinct, 2320 Hylan Blvd. Call 718-667-2292 for information.

The City Council district where this fatal crash occurred is represented by Vincent Ignizio, one of the council’s most outspoken street safety critics. To encourage Ignizio to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7390, vignizio@council.nyc.gov, or @VincentIgnizio.

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The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage.

Top of frame: Three drivers collided in Midwood, sending one vehicle into Galina Truglio, who was in a crosswalk. Truglio, 63, was killed. NYPD filed no charges. Image: WABC

Top of frame: Three drivers collided in Midwood, sending one vehicle into Galina Truglio, who was in a crosswalk. Truglio, 63, was killed. NYPD filed no charges. Image: WABC

Fatal Crashes (5 Killed This Week; 82 This Year; 4 Drivers Charged*)

  • Red Hook: Nicholas Soto, 14, Struck Crossing Street to Catch School Bus; No Charges (Streetsblog 1, 2)
  • Midwood: Galina Truglio, 63, Struck in Crosswalk in Multi-Vehicle Crash (NewsWABCNews 12)
  • Midtown: 58-Year-Old Livery Cab Driver Pinned by His SUV (DNA)
  • Cross Bronx Expwy: Manhole Cover Crashes Through Windshield, Killing Jose Duran, 35 (DNA, News)
  • South Jamaica: Off-Duty Cop Curtis Johnson, 28, Killed in Collision on Motorcycle (TLPost)

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