Pedestrian Killed in Flushing — And Driver Was Not Charged

Did the NYPD's Collision Investigation Squad do its job?

The scene of the crash. Photo: Google
The scene of the crash. Photo: Google

The NYPD said this week that a pedestrian struck earlier in the month in Flushing had died — but it is unclear if the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad properly investigated the death. Certainly, the driver was not held accountable.

Here’s what we know: On Sunday, Sept. 6 at around 1:30 p.m., Shaofen Jin, 57, was crossing 37th Avenue in the center of the congested neighborhood when the 44-year-old driver of a 2013 Honda Accord, who had been traveling southbound on Main Street, turned right onto 37th Avenue and hit the pedestrian.

EMTs took Jin, who was unconscious and unresponsive with head and body trauma to New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Queens, where she died on Sept. 10.

But here’s the confusion: Typically, the NYPD mentioned that its Collision Investigation Squad investigated. But the statement issued Tuesday by the NYPD did not contain such language. Instead, it reported that the “Collision Investigation Squad was notified by the Medical Examiner on Tuesday, Sept. 22 that the pedestrian succumbed to her injuries … on Thursday, Sept. 10.”

And whether the CIS investigated or not, the fact that the driver was not charged or summonsed is confusing. If Jin had the “walk” signal, the driver could have been charged with failure to yield, failure to exercise due care or even involuntary manslaughter. If Jin did not have the walk signal, it means that the driver went through a red light and could have been charged with that.

But this driver was not charged.

NYPD did not initially respond to requests for comment and more information about the killing of Shaofen Jin. After initial publication of this story, the agency sent over a one-sentence statement that did not address several specific questions of Streetsblog:

“This remains an ongoing investigation by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad,” said Det. Sophia Mason, an agency spokeswoman.

The strip in Flushing — where the city has already created a bus-only lane on the side of the roadway where the crash occurred — remains a dangerous place to be a pedestrian.

Council Member Peter Koo
Council Member Peter Koo

In 2019, on just four blocks of Main Street between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, there were 112 crashes, injuring six cyclists and 12 pedestrians, according to CrashMapper, which compiles public data. And from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2019 — just three years — there were 335 crashes on those four blocks of Main Street, injuring 10 cyclists and 33 pedestrians, killing three pedestrians.

Streetsblog has long covered how deadly Flushing is for pedestrians — and how little local elected officials such as Council Member Peter Koo — have done.

Between January, 2017 and December, 2019, there were 12,947 crashes in Koo’s Flushing district alone, injuring 194 cyclists, 726 pedestrians and 1,993 motorists, killing one cyclist, 15 pedestrians and five motorists. That’s roughly 12 crashes per day in just one council district — represented by Koo.

By comparison, in the neighboring 21st District, there were 2,551 fewer crashes over the same period. In Astoria’s 22nd Council District, there were 2,703 fewer crashes.

Koo has not returned calls.