So far in 2019, motor vehicles have caused the deaths of 21 pedestrians in New York City, which is more than the number of pedestrian fatalities caused by car accidents that had occurred by this time last year. One of the most recent of these fatal collisions occurred last Friday evening on Amsterdam Avenue in Harlem, where a hit-and-run driver allegedly crashed into a 26-year-old woman, who later died at the hospital. The driver, a 27-year-old man, now faces charges including operating a motor vehicle impaired by drugs, failure to report an accident, aggravated operation of a motor vehicle, vehicular manslaughter, driving without a license and vehicular assault.
Witnesses to the accident inside a nearby restaurant report hearing no sound of screeching tires that would have indicated that the driver tried to stop the vehicle or avoid the accident, reporting that only lights from the vehicle drew their attention to the scene where they saw the pedestrian lying on the ground following the collision. Allegedly, the driver was traveling south on Amsterdam Avenue at a high rate of speed as the pedestrian stepped off the curb at the intersection with West 141st Street. Reports indicate that the vehicle then struck her, pinning her between the vehicle and a nearby parked car, then sped off again. The driver allegedly then crashed into an SUV waiting at a stoplight after turning onto Hamilton Place. Authorities arrested him shortly thereafter. He had sustained injuries that required hospitalization, but it is unknown which collision, or both, caused his injuries, nor is it known whether he is still in the hospital or what his current condition may be.
The pedestrian received massive head and body injuries that required transportation to the hospital, where she died from her injuries. The accident may provide the impetus for the city to undertake a redesign of the street where the accident occurred that safety advocates have proposed for at least a year.
The alleged accident has already destroyed one young life and now has the potential to ruin another. Those charged with vehicular assault or related offenses may find it helpful to discuss the case with an attorney.