Monthly Archives: August 2012

Ambulance Crash Kills Two on Staten Island

A BMW crossed the center lane on Hylan Boulevard and Seacrest Avenue Monday night at around 7:10 p.m., killing two and injuring two more. According to, the drivers of both vehicles were killed when the accident happened.

The ambulance driver was 58-year old David Restuccio, a paramedic who was also a first responder on Sept. 11, 2001 when he was a lieutenant for FDNY EMS before leaving to work for a private company. After the accident, he suffered cardiac arrest and later died at the hospital.

The driver of the BMW was ejected from his car and pronounced dead at the scene. Those injured include another EMS worker and an ambulance passenger being transported to the hospital. Both are in stable condition at Staten Island University Hospital.

It isn’t clear from news reports if the ambulance was speeding with lights and sirens at the time of the accident, or if they were transporting the patient in a non-emergency manner. What is clear, however, is that the BMW crossed the center line, apparently causing the accident. Continue reading


NY Truck Crash Blamed on Driver Inattention

Last month, an 18-wheeler was responsible for the death of six people when it crashed into a long line of cars stopped for road construction. Now, a month later, officials are blaming the accident on the truck driver’s inattention.

According to the Daily Herald, the truck accident happened near the Fort Drum Army post, where road workers were repaving. There was a series of signs leading up to the road work, warning that workers were ahead.

The truck driver claimed not to see any of the signs.

Instead, he plowed into the back of an SUV, starting a chain reaction of collisions. In all, six were killed including three children.

The truck driver himself was initially listed in critical condition, but is now in good condition, recovering at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.

No charges have been brought against him.

His truck was owned by MBM Customized Foodservice Distribution. The company is based out of North Carolina and their trucks have reportedly been involved in 75 accidents over the past two years—one of which was fatal, and 23 resulted in injury. Continue reading


Long Island Small Plane Crash Kills Two

A small plane crashed into a Long Island residential neighborhood early this week, killing two and injuring one. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the accident and their findings could reportedly take up to one year.

According to, the accident happened about one mile north of the Brookhaven Airport. When the plane went down, the wreckage caught fire.

Although officials aren’t sure who was piloting, 53-year old David J. McElroy died at the scene, 60-year old Jane Unhjem later diet at Stony Brook University Medical Center. Her husband, 61-year old Erik Unhjem is listed in critical condition and is said to be “fighting for his life.”

Officials believe the pilot pulled the nose of the plane up just before it was to hit a house, then fell to the street. Witnesses said it was obvious the plane was in trouble as it came overhead. Continue reading


Crane Mechanic Escapes Jail Time for Accident that Killed Two

It’s been several years since the crane repaired by Tibor Varganyi collapsed on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, killing two workers. But he was finally sentenced this week to a year of community service, much to the outrage of the victims’ family members. His boss, who he testified against, was acquitted, escaping all punishment.

The crane accident occurred in May 2008. Varganyi admitted to arranging repair on the crane that was more concerned about the bottom line than the ultimate safety. Authorities called the job a “penny pinching, shoddy” repair job.

Both Varganyi and his the crane owner James Lomma were charged with manslaughter. In a plea agreement, Varganyi escaped jail time by testifying against Lomma. Lomma, however, escaped punishment.

Both men admit the crane repair was done in an effort to save time and money, with little thought given to safety.

The 200 foot crane came toppling down just one month after the repair. Just two months prior another crane in Manhattan had collapsed, killing seven.

Cranes are dangerous simply because of their size. But when they are not maintained properly, they become an accident waiting to happen. Because of this, employers are required to adhere to strict standards when working with cranes and when repairing them.

According to OSHA, failure to inspect, improper usage, and poor maintenance can all increase the chances of a crane accident. Continue reading


New Report Indicates Law Violations Responsible for Most Pedestrian and Bike Accidents

Transportation Alternatives, an NYC transportation advocacy group, released a study this week that found three out of every five deadly pedestrian and bicycle crashes in New York City are caused by “illegal driving behavior.” They, like many others, are hoping the city will soon change how they investigate such accidents so that drivers can be held responsible for the tragedy they leave behind.

According to the Transportation Alternatives website, “Deadly Driving Unlimited: How the NYPD Lets Dangerous Drivers Run Wild” looks at how the lack of investigations and repercussions for drivers involved in these fatal pedestrian and bicycle accidents only makes the problem worse.

The report analyzed data from the Department of Transportation. It found that 60 percent of fatal cyclist and pedestrian accidents with known causes were caused by illegal driving behavior betwee 1995 and 2009. These illegal driving behaviors could be anything from speeding, to running a red light, or drinking and driving.

Between 2001 and 2010, 1,7,45 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in accidents involving drivers in the city. Continue reading


Mayor Announces “Slow Zones” to Increase Road Safety, Reduce Accidents

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced alongside the DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan that the City’s Neighborhood Slow Zones would be expanded—increasing the areas where the speed limit is dropped in order to prevent accidents and increase safety.

According to a press release from the city of New York, the Slow Zone program reduces speed limits from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour in targeted residential areas. This, they say, has played a role in decreasing the number of fatal accidents in the city, and they hope an expansion can bring even further reductions.

In 2011, traffic fatalities in the city were at the lowest levels ever in recorded history. That is significant. The last four years have been the safest overall in regards to accidents.

The zones targeted for the Slow Zone program were identified by citizens themselves. They were requested by residents and then were evaluated for “crash history, community support, proximity of schools, senior centers, and daycare centers,” according to the city’s press release. Now those areas are in the design and approval process before the speed limit changes will be made official. Continue reading


City Council Introduces Plan to Audit NYPD Crash Investigations

Members of New York City’s City Council released the details of what they are calling the Crash Investigation Reform Act at a press conference this week. The purpose of the act is to improve the way in which the NYPD handles bicycle crash investigations among other things.

As reported by the Windsor Terrace Patch, currently, the NYPD only investigates bicycle accidents if the rider is killed or will likely die. Accidents resulting in scrapes, concussions, broken bones and worse, are not investigated unless the injuries are potentially fatal.

“Crashes that result in serious injuries demand serious investigations,” said Councilman Brad Lander. “But right now, they just aren’t getting them from the NYPD. As we learned at the City Council’s February hearing, thousands of crashes with serious injuries to pedestrians and cyclists happen with no real investigations, and no changes. The Crash Investigation Reform Act would set up a comprehensive review of NYPD policies regarding traffic crash investigations, and get us on the road to safer streets.”

In 2011, 21 cyclists were killed in crashes in the city. Only two drivers were arrested. Continue reading