Was the Victim of the Jackson Heights MTA Bus Crash Jaywalking? [Updated]
Update: NYPD identified the victim as Martha Tibillin-Guamug, 25, according to the Times Ledger.
A pedestrian was killed by a Q53 bus driver in Jackson Heights Monday afternoon.
Some published reports say the woman was hit near 74th Street and Broadway, but photos of the scene and the Q53 route map indicate that the crash occurred as the bus driver was turning right from Roosevelt Avenue onto Broadway. FDNY got the call at 5:56 p.m.
The front window of the bus next to the driver was cracked from the impact and the body of the woman lay under the vehicle near the right front tire a half-hour after the crash.
Commuters heading home after work saw the crash and immediately alerted police, but the woman could not be revived, witnesses said.
“People started screaming,” Carlos Mesia, 28, who saw the woman hesitate before stepping into the street.
He turned away for a moment and heard the bus’s brakes screech. When he turned back, the vehicle rocked like it had just hit a bump.
WCBS reported that the victim, whose name has not been released, was crossing Broadway from west to east. If this is correct — again, judging by photos taken at the scene — she would have been in or near the crosswalk, with the bus to her left. The intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Broadway is under the elevated 7 track, and there is a stanchion on the southwest corner. On the stanchion is a sign alerting drivers turning right from Roosevelt onto Broadway to yield to pedestrians. Unless there is an exclusive turn phase there, if the driver had a green light, the victim probably also had the signal.
This intersection, a short distance from Elmhurst Hospital, has a lot going on, with the elevated train track, streets that meet at odd angles, and poor sight lines. It’s also a major hub for commuters on the 7, E, F, M, and R trains. While DNAinfo for some reason notes that “straphangers often dash into traffic to make their trains,” the only indication we’ve found that the victim was not following traffic rules is an unsourced claim in the Post that she “appeared to be jaywalking.” Based on available information, that scenario seems unlikely.
As of this morning, no summonses were issued to the bus driver, according to NYPD.
This fatal crash occurred in the City Council district represented by safe streets champion Danny Dromm, and in the 110th Precinct, where at least five other pedestrians have been killed by drivers since last April. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Ronald D. Leyson, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 110th Precinct council meetings happen at 7:00 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at the Flanders Field VFW Post #150, 51-11 108th Street, in Corona. Call the precinct at 718-476-9310 for information.