SI Motorist Who Killed Senior Mary Cerqua Pleads to Violating Victim’s Right of Way

Deborah Pecoraro hit Cerqua, 73, in a crosswalk, then reportedly told police the victim caused the crash. She was charged after investigators reviewed video evidence.

Video showed Deborah Pecoraro strike Mary Cerqua while making a left turn into the crosswalk at Hylan Boulevard and Wiman Avenue. Image via NY1
Video showed Deborah Pecoraro strike Mary Cerqua while making a left turn into the crosswalk at Hylan Boulevard and Wiman Avenue. Image via NY1

A driver who killed a senior walking on Hylan Boulevard has pled guilty to violating the victim’s right of way.

At around 9:24 a.m. on April 12, 2016, Deborah Pecoraro hit 73-year-old Mary Cerqua with a Nissan SUV while making a left turn into the crosswalk at Hylan and Wiman Avenue.

Mary Cerqua
Mary Cerqua

Cerqua, who lived in Great Kills, sustained head trauma and died at Staten Island University Hospital.

The Daily News reported that Pecoraro, of Annadale, told police Cerqua caused the crash. NYPD routinely blames the victims of fatal traffic crashes based on the drivers’ version of events, though those accounts are often proven false. In this case, video evidence showed the victim was following traffic rules when she was struck.

Court records say Pecoraro, then 55, was charged with a misdemeanor under the city’s Right of Way Law, failure to exercise due care, and disorderly conduct — a violation that includes a provision for disrupting vehicular or pedestrian traffic. She pled guilty earlier this month to the right of way charge and disorderly conduct.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Pecoraro will take a driving course and participate in a victim impact panel, according to the Staten Island Advance. When those conditions are met, the misdemeanor conviction will be vacated, and Pecoraro will be sentenced to a conditional discharge for the disorderly conduct conviction and will be fined $250, the Advance reported.

The Advance says Pecoraro is the first Staten Island motorist to plead guilty to a Right of Way Law violation. Staten Island drivers have killed at least 18 people walking and biking since the law took effect in 2014, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog. Drivers were known to be charged for taking victims’ lives in four of those cases.


A motorist, in the white SUV at right, waits to make the same turn taken by the driver who killed Jenna Daniels. Image: Google Maps

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NYPD has not responded to a Streetsblog freedom of information request for files related to a crash that killed a teenage jogger in Staten Island. Jenna Daniels, 15, was struck on the afternoon of November 15, 2014, by the driver of a pickup truck making a left turn from Hylan Boulevard onto Bayview Avenue in Prince’s Bay. NYPD never revealed the identity of the driver, and would not disclose how he was penalized for failing to exercise due care.

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