Driver Held Responsible — Albeit Marginally — for Killing Bronx Senior As Bloody Year Continues

The struck pedestrian was crossing in the intersection at left, according to cops. Photo: Google
The struck pedestrian was crossing in the intersection at left, according to cops. Photo: Google

A Bronx driver was hit with minor summonses after running over and killing a pedestrian on Saturday morning in Castle Hill — a rare instance when a driver is charged after a fatal crash.

According to police, Ramon Cedeno-Ortiz, 54, was driving his 2004 Ford van southbound on Olmstead Avenue at around 11 a.m., and struck Tian-Rong Lin, 62, in the crosswalk as he turned left onto Seward Avenue through the dangerous four-way-stop intersection.

Lin suffered severe body trauma and was taken to Jacobi Hospital, where she died. Cedeno-Ortiz remained on the scene and was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care, both mere traffic tickets. Lin lived less than a mile from where she was killed.

Truckers make this portion of the Bronx especially dangerous for pedestrians, though the area south of the Bruckner Expressway is a bit safer, statistically, than other parts of the neighborhood. Since January, 2020, there have been 33 reported crashes on just the single blocks of Seward Avenue on either side of Olmstead, injuring a cyclist, two pedestrians and four motorists. Over the same period in the larger 43rd Precinct, there have been 4,742 reported crashes, injuring 100 cyclists, 272 pedestrians and 1,491 motorists, killing four cyclists, seven pedestrians and six drivers. That’s a rate of more than five crashes per day.

Drivers are very rarely charged with anything after striking pedestrians or cyclists, so long as the driver remains on the scene and is not drunk or driving with a suspended license. Mayor Adams has vowed to crack down on reckless drivers, but statistics suggest that the NYPD is not writing a significant number of tickets more now than during the last few years of the previous mayor.

Lin’s death follows the killing of a Staten Island man by an MTA bus driver on Friday afternoon. According to cops, the unidentified bus river was traveling east on Forest Hill Road when he struck Patrick Varriale, 69, as he turned onto northbound Platinum Avenue. The bus driver kept going, but was later identified and questioned.

Varriale suffered severe body trauma and died on the scene of the 4:40 p.m. crash, cops said. The NYPD told Streetsblog on Sunday that the driver was not charged, but the case is still being investigated.

Here are this year’s fatalities through May 12:

Chart: DOT
Chart: DOT