A New York City pedestrian crossing the street was killed by a backhoe on Friday afternoon. 61 year old Estelle Davis was walking in a crosswalk near New Lots and Van Sinderen Avenues. She was looking down at her phone when a backhoe that was doing work nearby struck her. The backhoe belongs to Vail Industry, an independent contractor that was hired by Con Ed to perform some work in the area. Estelle Davis was on her way to work. She was a nurse working two jobs and also serves as pastor on Sunday.
The police thought initially that the woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver but a video surveillance captured images of the accident. Investigation is still ongoing but it is not clear yet why heavy construction equipment was backing up in a pedestrian area with no protection or warning. A flag worker was present at the scene but he was positioned on the other side of the machine. (Read more in the NY Daily News )
Extensive regulations have been developed by OSHA to prevent pedestrians being run over by heavy construction equipment
Vehicle operators are required to have special training on how to drive these types of vehicles and specific safety steps to secure the work area where the heavy construction equipment is moving must be proprely followed to secure the area and avoid accidents such as the one that occured on Friday.
Despite the regulations, construction run-over-accidents still occur on a regular basis in New York City. Backing up dump trucks are the most dangerous but other heavy equipment such has backhoes, bulldozers, excavators, bobcats, forklifts, lifts as well as front end loaders or cranes are all dangerous construction equipment with large blind spots that can be deadly for people around them. While accidents with regular pedestrians are not that common, hard hats working near such vehicles are at much higher risk of being struck by them.
Picture of the location of the accident: courtesy of Google Map