Streetsblog: Doing its job year after year in New York City. In memoriam 2012

Each year our friends over at Streetsblog in New York City publish a heart-rending testimonial to the mayhem that automobiles have wrought over the year on their city’s streets and the cost in terms of lives lost by innocent pedestrians and cyclists. Putting names, faces and human tragedy to what otherwise takes the form of dry numbers, faceless hence quickly forgettable statistics is an important task. We can only encourage responsible citizens and activists in every city on the planet to do the same thing, holding those public officials (and let’s not forget, we call them “public servants”, and for excellent reason) responsible for what goes on under their direct control.

And if there is a single lesson to be learned it is surely this: traffic on the streets of all our cities needs to be slowed down a sane and efficient 10/20/30 mph and no faster; supported a strict “Street Code”, whereby in every case the lighter slower party is fully protected both in terms of immediate enforcement, the law and insurance matters. (Is it really that hard to be decent?)

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In Memoriam

by Brad Aaron. Streetsblog. Wednesday, December 26, 2012

When the book is written on the fight for traffic justice in New York City, an entire chapter might well be devoted to 2012.

This was the year when Commissioner Ray Kelly’s NYPD revealed to the City Council that only a handful of officers are assigned to investigate serious traffic crashes. The public learned that, per department policy, the majority of crashes are handled by precinct cops who are trained and authorized to fill in boxes on a form, and nothing more, effectively denying the possibility of justice to thousands who suffer life-altering injuries at the hands of motorists each year. That this policy is in violation of state law apparently mattered not at all to the police commissioner, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, or Albany.

In 2012, victims whose lives were ended by reckless drivers ranged in age from 2 to 92. Two small boys were fatally struck as their horrified and helpless parents looked on. A high school football player with college prospects was run over by two drivers while riding his bike. A veteran UPS man on his regular rounds was crushed to death on a sidewalk. A grandmother of 22 who survived Auschwitz was killed by a driver in pursuit of a parking spot.

It was a landmark year for institutional failure. A spike in traffic fatalities coincided with a marked drop in NYPD enforcement. Criminal cases against killer motorists were wrecked by policeprosecutorsjudges, and juries.

Standing on a city street corner, the U.S. secretary of transportation wrongly blamed most pedestrians for their own deaths. The National Guard contributed to the toll wrought by Hurricane Sandy. NYC DOT admonished pedestrians to look out for careless drivers, yet made a mockery of that advice by refusing to own up to a DOT driver’s alleged responsibility for a fatal crash.

Because it must, the story continues. Some day the City Council will take up the proposed Crash Investigation Reform Act, which among other measures would form a task force charged with assessing NYPD crash investigation practices and recommending reforms. In the meantime, individual acts of vehicular violence have gained the attention of council members. Though results have been mixed, the city press corps is finally acknowledging the dangers of unsafe streets and virtually non-existent enforcement. Attorneys are advancing the cause of traffic justice in civil courts. Everyday citizens press on for improvements that are known to make neighborhoods safer to walk, bike and, yes, drive.

Here is our accounting of New York pedestrians and cyclists known to have lost their lives in traffic in 2012. In the comments, please share remembrances of those named here, and the names and stories of those we missed.

Roman Alavez, Lizardo Aldama, Clara Almazo, Rubin Baum

  • Dawn Affoumani, 42, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (Post)
  • Roman Alavez, 26, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” (DNA)
  • Lizardo Aldama, 89, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Sentenced to Probation (Streetsblog)
  • Clara Almazo, 56, Pedestrian, Killed in Staten Island; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene (Post)
  • Ken Baker, 26, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Amjad Barakat, 33, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (Post, Bay Ridge Journal)
  • Rubin Baum, 80, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Maleka Begum, 54, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Not Charged [NICE Bus] (Streetsblog)

Maleka Begum, Emma Blumstein, Roxana Sorina Buta, Terence Connor

  • Maria Beria, 30, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Emma Blumstein, 24, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Gothamist)
  • William Boney, 49, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (Streetsblog)
  • Roxana Sorina Buta, 21, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run, No Known Charges [NYC DOT] (Streetsblog)
  • Francisco Camacho, 59, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; “No Criminality Suspected” (DNA)
  • Shaquille Cochrane, 18, Cyclist, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” [Yellow Cab] (Streetsblog)
  • Terence Connor, 24, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • John Cook, 34, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (News)

Tchaka Cooke, Raoul De La Cruz, Sorel Depas-Medina, Colleen Mallon Dizeo

  • Tchaka Cooke, 39, Cyclist, Killed in Queens; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Ignacio Cubano, 69, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Chenugor Dao, 60, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Raoul De La Cruz, 35, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; One Driver Charged With Leaving Scene, One Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Sorel Depas-Medina, 70, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Colleen Mallon Dizeo, 48, Pedestrian, Killed in Staten Island; No Known Charges (Advance)
  • Dante Dominguez, 45, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Suying Du, 56, Pedestrian, Killed in Staten Island; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)

Jessica Dworkin, Jermaine Elliott, David Ellis, Dan Fellegara

  • Jessica Dworkin, 58, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Summonsed for Failure to Yield, Careless Driving (Streetsblog)
  • Jermaine Elliott, 26, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • David Ellis, 18, Cyclist, Killed in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Luis Enriquez, 62, Killed in Manhattan; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Victor Felix, 57, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Charged With DWI (Streetsblog)
  • Dan Fellegara, 29, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” [Yellow Cab] (Streetsblog)
  • Victor Florio, 76, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene (Streetsblog)
  • Donna Fountain, 38, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (Gothamist)
  • Noah Foxman, 58, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; One Hit-and-Run, One Driver Not Charged (Bklyn Daily)
  • Kwok Fu, 82, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; No Known Charges [National Guard] (Streetsblog)
  • Amanda Garcia, 21, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)

Henry Garcia, Thackoo Hargobin, Christopher Hutchinson, Jean Jeanniot

  • Henry Garcia, 13, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Mary Gater, 60, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Ghana Ghalley, 24, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Driver Summonsed for Failure to Yield, Failure to Exercise Due Care (Streetsblog)
  • Mireya Gomez, 50, Cyclist, Killed in Queens; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Willie Gonzalez, 25, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; No Known Charges [MTA Bus] (DNA)
  • Peter Guastamacchia, 53, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run (DNA)
  • Thackoo Hargobin, 52, Killed in Queens; Driver Not Charged [School Bus] (Streetsblog)
  • Frankie Hernandez, 17, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (News)
  • Gabriel Hernandez, 24, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Charged With Manslaughter [Livery Cab] (Post)
  • Lepoldo Hernandez, 57, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Roger Hernandez, 37, Cyclist, Killed in Queens; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (Sunnyside Post)
  • Christopher Hutchinson, 39, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (Streetsblog)
  • Jean Jeanniot, 71, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; One Hit-and-Run, One No Known Charges (News)
  • Davonte Jeffers, 14, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Sentenced to Six Months (Streetsblog)

Meilan Jin, Gitzella Katz, Ibrahim Kebe, Timothy Keith

  • Meilan Jin, 22, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; No Known Charges [MTA Bus] (Post)
  • Gitzella Katz, 92, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Ebrahim Kebe, 4, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Timothy Keith, 5, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged [Yellow Cab] (Streetsblog)

Margaret King, Alexander Martinez, Daniel Martinez, Margaret Myers

  • Margaret King, 81, Pedestrian, Killed in Staten Island; Driver Summonsed for Failure to Yield (Streetsblog)
  • Kyle Larson, 20, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • “Lorii,” Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Aileen Martinez, 33, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” [MTA Bus] (Streetsblog)
  • Alexander Martinez, 37, Cyclist, Killed in Queens; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Daniel Martinez, 27, Cyclist, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” (DNA)
  • Sheena Mathew, 38, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Justin Murray, 49, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Post)
  • Margaret Myers, 69, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (Streetsblog)

Joseph Nelson, James Neverson, Tamon Robinson, Kevin Rodriguez

  • Joseph Nelson, 54, Cyclist, Killed in the Bronx; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • James Neverson, 63, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Gargano Nicoletta, 76, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • David Oliveras, 18, Cyclist, Killed in the Bronx; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Pietro Palumbo, 76, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Leighton Parnham, 19, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged [Livery Cab] (New York Shitty)
  • Phyllis Pitt, 64, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Julian Ramos, 17, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (Post Blotter)
  • Juan Rivera-Quintana, 42, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (Streetsblog)
  • Tamon Robinson, 27, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; No Known Charges [NYPD] (Streetsblog)
  • Isabel Rodriguez, 88, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene (Post)
  • Kevin Rodriguez, 3, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged [Ambulette] (Streetsblog)

Mike Rogalle, Juanita Rosario, Dashane Santana, Alberto Serrano

  • Mike Rogalle, 58, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Daniel Rosado, 40, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Luis Rosado, 75, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run [Livery Cab] (Post)
  • Juanita Rosario, 59, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; No Known Charges (News)
  • Luis Ruiz, 81, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; One Hit-and-Run, One Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Ramon Russel, 37, Cyclist, Killed in Queens; “No Criminality Suspected” (Post)
  • Abraham Samet, 68, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Dashane Santana, 12, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (Post)
  • Andrew Schoonover, 31, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” [City Sanitation] (Streetsblog)
  • Alberto Serrano, 31, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (Streetsblog)

Rohan Singh, Jusheem Thorne, Ronald Tillman, Amos Veloz, Pelagia Zingatan

  • Rohan Singh, 47, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Hit-and-Run (Times Ledger)
  • Ronald Sinvil, 36, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged [City Sanitation] (Streetsblog)
  • Arnold Slater, 75, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run (Villager)
  • Lori Stevens, 70, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; No Known Charges [Yellow Cab] (Streetsblog)
  • Jason Tavarez, 24, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (DNA)
  • Jusheem Thorne, 25, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Ronald Tillman, 29, Cyclist, Killed in Staten Island; Hit-and-Run (Post)
  • Miguel Torres, 11, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Hit-and-Run, Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Maria Tripp, 47, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” [Secret Service] (Streetsblog)
  • Amos Veloz, 21, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” [MTA Bus] (News)
  • Priscilla Wells, 56, Killed in Brooklyn While Riding Mobility Scooter; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Jason Williams, 23, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Pelagia Zingatan, 65, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” [Yellow Cab] (Streetsblog)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, Killed Dec. 26, 2011 in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (NY1)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 67, Killed Feb. 13 in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (DNA)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 40, Killed Feb. 29 in Queens; Driver Not Charged (DNA)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 65, Killed March 8 in Queens; Hit-and-Run (DNA)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 2, Killed March 27 in the Bronx; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Unidentified Cyclist, Killed April 4 in Queens; “No Criminality Suspected” [Livery Cab] (Streetsblog)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 75, Killed April 25 in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 23, Killed May 4 in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” (Gothamist)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 75, Killed May 8 in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 20, Killed May 28 in Brooklyn; “No Criminality” (Streetsblog)
  • Unidentified Cyclist, Killed July 19 in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Unidentified Cyclist, Killed August 26 in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, Killed Oct. 21 in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, Killed Oct. 26 in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (DNA)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 78, Killed Dec. 18 in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” [School Bus] (Streetsblog)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian, 31, Killed Dec. 19 in Queens; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)

* For the full original with Streetsblog reader Comments click here.

# # #

Look at those faces. Think of those lives so terribly truncated, simply because we are not smart or fair enough to do better. But it does not have to be that way.

We know of course the answer to this: (a) Fewer cars on the street, moving far more slowly (we trap them through slow street architecture), far better protection for all others out on the street, and drivers who when at the wheel have the fear of their life of what will happen to them in the event they are the source of incident, injury or death. This coupled with (b) clear and simple laws, that are made widely known, together with draconian enforcement coupled with strict and immediate punishment which is comparable to the offenses committed. And no exceptions or exemptions. Sometimes life is simple.

The editor, World Streets

About the author:

brad aaronStreetsblog Deputy Editor Brad Aaron has worked in journalism long enough for his clip file to contain actual tearsheets. As a reporter, editor and publisher, he has written extensively on urban planning, transportation, law, business, education and other topics. Brad began writing for Streetsblog in 2007. He lives in Manhattan.  He can be contacted via brad.streetsblog@gmail.com

 # # #

About the editor:

about-eb-1jan13 - larger text

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