A 20 year old woman was killed in a hit and run car accident last Thursday in Queens. The driver who hit her and tried to run away was arrested by the police. 19 year old Alfaheed Odesanya was driving North on Guy R. Brewer Boulevard when he blew a red light at the intersection of Archer Ave. He struck another car driven by a young woman. After he struck the car Odesanya and a passenger abandoned the scene of the accident and tried to run away on foot. He was quickly caught by the police and charged with leaving the scene of a serious crash. The young woman was transported to the hospital in critical conditions. She later died from her injuries
Speeding and maybe alcohol may have caused the death of two off-duty police officers who went for a joy ride in a rental Maserati after a wedding celebration. Last Sunday afternoon, NYPD Officer Michael Colangelo married Katherine Berger at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, Ulster County. After the celebration was over, a little bit after 11:00 pm, detective John Martinez who had worked in NYPD’s special operations with Colangelo in the past and another unidentified passenger went for a joy ride in a Maserati rented for the wedding. Sadly they never came back, the car hit a tree killing both the driver and the front-seat passenger . The unidentified back-seat passenger was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive.
The 31 year old groom was behind the wheel when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed in into a tree. He was speeding and neither he and his friend Martinez were wearing a seatbelt. The backseat passenger who only suffered injuries was wearing a seat belt.
For years safety advocates have recommended that school buses be equipped with 3-point seat belts to protect children from injuries or deaths in case of a bus accident. Yesterday the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) joined in by recommending for the first time that all US School buses be equipped with lap and shoulder belts.
Based on previous studies, The NTSB also recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandate automatic emergency braking systems for all American school buses.
States such as New York, New Jersey, Florida and Louisiana that already have buses equipped with lap belts should also upgrade to lap and shoulder belts.
On March 5th, Ruthie Ann Blumenstein was crossing the road with Abigail, her 5 year old daughter when a reckless driver struck them (see our previous blog). Abigail died at the scene of the accident and her mother suffered serious injury. At the time of the accident she was 39 weeks pregnant with Sophia Rosemary Wong Blumenstein. On Wednesday our managing partner, Ben Rubinowitz who represents Mrs Blumenstein announced that sadly her unborn child had died from the injuries suffered during the crash. “The pain suffered by Ruthie and Jonathan is nearly impossible to fathom,” Mr. Rubinowitz said. “As you might imagine, they are overwhelmed by the sadness of the deaths of their children.”
Ruthie Ann Blumenstein is a Tony-Waward winning actress. The actress and her daughter Abigail were among a group of pedestrians who were crossing the intersection of Fifth Ave and 9th street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, when Dorothy Burns ran a red light and erratically plowed into them. Abigail and 20 month old Joshua Lew died at the scene of the accident. Several pedestrians were injured including the pregnant Ruthie Ann Blumenstein.
Dorthy Burns was recently indicted by a Grand Jury and was charged with manslaughter, assault and criminally negligent homicide (see previous blog). Burns suffers from multiple sclerosis. Prior to the fatal accident she received 12 driving violations for speeding in school zones and running red lights. Her license is now suspended. It is outrageous that she was still allowed to drive at the time of the accident.
Multiple owners of key-less cars have been dying of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning after mistakenly thinking that their car had stopped running. In most scenarios the car owner parks the vehicle in the house garage and takes the wireless key fob thinking that the car has shut down while it hasn’t. Overnight the garage and the house fills with odorless carbon monoxide gas, leaving the owner and other potential house residents dead or severely injured.
There are no exact records of how many people have died or how many people were left with serious injuries such as brain damage after inadvertently leaving their car running but 24 deaths nationwide were reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2006 when the first known case occurred. 70 year old Jeanette Colter, a Florida resident who left her Toyota Avalon running in the garage ended up collapsing and dying between her kitchen and her living room. Her 89 year old husband died in the bedroom.
In 2009 after several other similar accidents were reported, the Society of Automotive Engineers formed a panel to develop recommended practices to address key-less ignition hazards. In 2011, the group recommended an externally audible or visual alert or automatic shut off of the engine if all doors are closed and the key fob is not present. That same year the NHTSA proposed a new rule with similar recommendations.
In a previous post we mentioned that a pedestrian was fatally struck by a garbage truck belonging to Sanitation Salvage two weeks ago in the Bronx. Leon Clark, a man in his 70ies who was living in Adams Houses was walking on E. 152nd St. near Jackson Ave in Morrisiana when he was fatally struck by a private garbage truck driven by 33 year old Sean Spence. It is the second time in less than 6 months that Spence killed a pedestrian while driving his truck.
On November 7, Spence was driving his truck when he fatally ran over 21 year old Mouctar Diallo, an off-the books employee who was helping him. Diallo was standing on the the steps leading to the passenger’s door when he lost his grip, fell under the truck’s rear wheels and died. Spence initially lied to the police and claimed that the victim was a crazy homeless man who tried to jumped on the side of his truck.
Sanitation Salvage has a history of safety violations
Two months ago Dorothy Burns ran a red like, killed two young children and injured 3 pedestrians in a horrific accident in Brooklyn, NYC (see previous blog). The 2 children were 20-month-old Joshua Lew and 4 year old Abigael Blumenstein, the daughter of Tony award actress Ruthie Ann Miles. Burns was indicted by a Grand Jury last Wednesday and was charged with manslaughter, assault and criminally negligent homicide. Burns had a history of reckless driving. Since 2016 she accumulated 12 driving violations from speeding in school zones and running red lights. Burns suffers from multiple sclerosis and it is unclear why she was still allowed to drive at the time of the accident. Her license is now suspended.
Read more in the Daily Beast
2,049 people died in 1,980 fatal hit and run crashes in 2016 in the US according to a study recently released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This is the highest number of fatal hit and run crashes ever recorded in the US. Among the 2,049 people who died in these accidents, 1,229 of them were pedestrians, 169 were cyclists, 380 of them were drivers and 229 were passengers. Since 2009 hit and run crashes increased by an average annual rate of 7.2% per year.
New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida have the highest rate of fatal hit and run crashes per 100,000 people while New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota have the lowest rate.
Almost 60% of the victims of fatal hit and run are pedestrians with elderly over 80 year old and children under 6 being 50% more likely to be a victim of such accidents. Gender is also a factor. 70% of pedestrians dying in a hit and run accidents are male.
Tuesday afternoon around 3:00 pm, an elderly couple brought their car to a car wash located next to the Mobile gas station on Avenue U and Gerritsen Avenue in Marine Park. As their car was coming out of the car wash it was hit by a black Jeep that had been left in neutral. The elderly couple were inspecting the damages on their car when a 61 year old employee of the car wash got behind the wheel of the black Jeep. He backed the Jeep up in the garage and hit a wall of the building, then for some unknown reason he drove forward speeding, striking the couple and crashing into their car. The impact was so strong that the couple’s car then crashed into two other parked cars across the street. The car wash employee then backed up again and drove forward again striking the woman for the second time. He repeated the same back and fourth maneuver for a third time before car wash employees were able to stop him and get him out of the car. The 85 year old woman identified as Joane Tornabene died at the scene of the accident. Her 90 year old husband, Frank Tornabene was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The police are still trying to figure out the reason why the car wash employee behaved so erratically.
This is the second time in a week that someone was struck by a vehicle at a NYC car wash. A car wash worker lost his leg on Saturday in Queens . The man was wiping down a vehicle when he was struck by another car driven by a co-worker.
Since Vision Zero started in 2014, NYC traffic fatalities decreased by 28% while nationally they went up by 15%. According to the Fourth Vision Zero Annual Report that was recently released by the de Blasio Administration, the decline was the strongest in pedestrian deaths. They went down by 45% since the program was launched in 2014.
Last year, under the Vision Zero umbrella, the city installed 832 additional Leading Pedestrians Intervals (LPI). 24.9 miles of protected bike lanes were built leading to a total of more than 60 miles of protected bike lanes in the City. Left turn calming treatments were placed at 110 intersections. 390 speed bumps were also created all over the five boroughs.