Truck Driver Kills Maria Minchala, 63, in Washington Heights Crosswalk

Though it has center islands, Broadway at W. 165th Street, where a driver killed Maria Minchala, is inhospitable to people on foot. Image: Google Maps
Though it has center islands, Broadway at W. 165th Street, where a driver killed Maria Minchala, is inhospitable to people on foot. Eight people were injured in crashes at the intersection in 2015. Image: Google Maps

A truck driver killed a woman in a Washington Heights crosswalk Wednesday night — the second pedestrian fatally struck by New York City motorists yesterday.

Maria Minchala was crossing at Broadway east to west at W. 165th Street, near New York-Presbyterian Hospital, at around 8:45 p.m. when the driver, turning right onto Broadway, struck her with a flatbed truck, according to reports.

From the Daily News:

“She went to church to get her ashes, and then she was on her way to work,” said her distraught son, Manuel Minchala, 36, crying as he spoke. Minchala worked for a private office cleaning company.

“I took the turn real slow, three miles an hour. I never saw her. I felt a bump. It wasn’t right. I pulled over and went back and saw the lady,” said the driver, who didn’t give his name.

“She is a mother of five. She has four grandchildren. We are from Ecuador,” Manuel Minchala said. “She brought us here for a better life. She was a good, hard-working woman.”

The driver’s name was not released by police. Though it appears likely the victim would have been crossing with the right of way, no charges were filed and no tickets were issued as of this afternoon, NYPD told Streetsblog.

Much of Broadway in Upper Manhattan is a chaotic and dangerous mess, with motorists slaloming around double-parked cars. Though Broadway has center islands at W. 165th Street, with five lanes of motor vehicle through-traffic and no bike infrastructure it’s a foreboding crossing to navigate on foot.

There were eight injuries at the intersection in 2015, according to DOT crash data. The 33rd Precinct, where the crash occurred, ticketed 707 drivers for speeding [PDF] last year.

If Minchala had the right of way, there’s definitely no guarantee the driver will be charged with a misdemeanor under the city’s Right of Way Law. While motorists have killed and injured thousands of people since it took effect, police and prosecutors have applied the law in just a few dozen cases.

Minchala was struck less than 24 hours after a hit-and-run driver killed a 16-year-old girl in Rosedale, Queens.


Another Ambulette Driver Runs Over a Child; Second in Four Days

Another child has been struck by an ambulette driver, this time in Manhattan. At approximately 3:04 p.m. Tuesday, a 12-year-old boy was hit by a westbound Ford van, driven by a 24-year-old, on W. 165th Street at Amsterdam Avenue in Washington Heights, according to NYPD. The victim was taken to Columbia Presbyterian in serious condition. […]