No Charges Filed After Drivers Kill 2 People in Brooklyn and the Bronx

Nostrand Avenue at Myrtle Avenue, where a driver killed a 54-year-old pedestrian last night. Image: Google Maps
Nostrand Avenue at Myrtle Avenue, where a driver killed a 54-year-old pedestrian last night. Image: Google Maps

NYPD filed no charges after drivers killed two people walking in separate crashes in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The Bronx crash happened in November and NYPD announced the victim’s death today.

Last night at around 8 p.m. the driver of a box truck fatally struck a 54-year-old man at Nostrand and Myrtle avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, in the 79th Precinct.

DNAinfo posted video, embedded below, that shows the southbound driver enter the frame at a high rate of speed and pass a stopped car before hitting the victim head-on. NYPD blamed the victim, telling the press he was “outside of the marked crosswalk.” Reports by DNAinfo and the Daily News do not mention driver speed or question how the driver failed to avoid striking the victim.

As of this afternoon, NYPD had no further details on the crash, and the victim’s name had not been released pending family notification. The driver’s identity was not revealed. NYPD usually shields the names of motorists who kill people unless charges are filed.

Motorists have injured 22 people walking at Nostrand and Myrtle, where there is a playground, since 2009, according to city data.

Three years into the Vision Zero era, it remains standard operating procedure for NYPD to focus on the behavior of crash victims rather than the actions of drivers who hurt and kill people. Though it’s often unreliable, the police department’s initial account of a crash is usually the only one the public sees.

Last month, a motorist hit Smajlaj Pashke, 77, with a Honda subcompact at Broadway and W. 246th Street in Riverdale, according to reports from the Riverdale Press and the Daily News. The crash occurred at around 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 19. Pashke was declared brain dead two days later and died on Tuesday, November 22.

DOT had recently installed a traffic signal, which had not yet been activated, at Broadway and W. 246th after local residents and electeds asked for traffic-calming measures to protect people from reckless drivers. That didn’t deter Deputy Inspector Terence O’Toole, commanding officer at the 50th Precinct, from blaming Pashke for being hit.

From the Press:

On Tuesday, the incident was still under investigation by the Highway Units Collision Investigation Squad, but initial results indicated there was “no apparent criminality on the part of the motorist,” Capt. O’Toole said. The driver was a middle-aged woman, he said.

“She was sober, not on any apparent medication, and while I don’t have exact numbers, it does not appear that excessive speed was a factor,” he said in an email to The Press.

“A greater contributing factor was the pedestrian’s decision to cross Broadway without the minimal protection of a crosswalk,” he said.

The News reported that, according to unnamed police sources, the driver “tried to swerve out of the right lane to avoid Pashke, but hit her anyway.”

Broadway in this area is a multi-lane stroad designed to move auto traffic quickly with little consideration for people on foot. Regardless of whether the driver was legally culpable for killing Pashke, crashes like this one are an inevitable product of the street’s design.

The 50th Precinct tickets around two speeding drivers a day, on average, and issues about one ticket per day for failing to yield to pedestrians.