Three City Pedestrians Killed in Five Hours; No Charges Filed

Linden Boulevard at Rockaway Parkway, where pedestrian Gerald Green was killed by a motorist who "had the light." Image: Google Maps

Three pedestrians were killed in separate crashes in Manhattan and Brooklyn last night.

At around 7:50 p.m., 85-year-old Richard Griffin was on his way to visit a hospital patient, according to the Post, when he was apparently struck head-on by the driver of a Jeep SUV on York Avenue at E. 69th Street. Griffin, of Staten Island, was taken to Cornell Medical Center and died soon after.

At approximately 11:30, Gerald Green was hit by the driver of a Jeep SUV while attempting to negotiate the hellish intersection of Linden Boulvard and Rockaway Parkway. Here’s how the crash was described by DNAinfo and the Daily News.

Green, who cops said was crossing against the light, was taken to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center and pronounced dead, police said.

Gerald Green, 52, was hit in East Flatbush as he tried to cross … against the light … cops said.

The Daily News story reported that another pedestrian was killed, in Harlem, some 90 minutes later. According to NYPD, a 35-year-old man was crossing W. 125th Street at Broadway when he was hit by a yellow cab driver at around 1 a.m. He was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt. Police had not released the victim’s identity as of early this afternoon.

No drivers were charged for any of these crashes, despite the fact that there is no indication that the fallen Harlem pedestrian or Richard Griffin were violating any traffic rules. That’s because NYPD tends to cite possible causal factors — who “had the light,” for example — only when they are attributed to the victim, i.e. the dead or wounded pedestrian or cyclist.

Even when details emerge that a driver was speeding or ran a stop sign, most often such information comes from witnesses, and is rarely followed by charges against the driver. In other words, though 60 percent of fatal pedestrian and bicyclist crashes with known causes result from drivers breaking the law, as far as police and, usually, the city press corps are concerned, most crashes are either the victim’s fault or acts of God. Cases in which motorists are viewed as anything other than unwitting players in someone else’s tragedy are few and far between.

The fatal Harlem crash occurred in the 26th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Robert Jackson. The crash that killed Gerald Green happened in the 67th Precinct. Green is the second pedestrian to die at the hands of a motorist in Charles Barron’s council district in less than a week.

Richard Griffin was killed in the 19th Precinct, and in Jessica Lappin’s City Council district.

“This sounds like a terrible tragedy, and my thoughts and prayers are with the victim and his family,” said Lappin, in an emailed statement to Streetsblog. “We’re seeking additional information on what happened. Any pedestrian fatality is one too many.”