Five young men were riding in a brand new Suburu Impreza. The driver, 17-year old Joseph Beer, had received the car as a gift from his parents for graduating high school early and enrolling at St. John’s University. Before the end of the night, all but Beer would be dead, after the car failed to negotiate a dangerous curve, leaving the road and hitting a tree.
According to the NY Daily News, the four passengers, all 18-years old, were thrown from the vehicle. The only survivor was 17-year old Beer.
“Unfortuantely, it has its own nickname of ‘dead man’s curve’ because it comes up so quickly and it’s such a sharp turn,” said Lakeview Fire Department Chief Heather Senti. It was this curve that Beer couldn’t handle, and which sent the car off the road. The car was split in half by the tree. Continue reading
Just a few weeks ago, we blogged about New York City bicyclists and how they may actually make the roads of the city safer. But in a heated and ongoing argument, others believe that the bikers are smug, don’t care about the safety of others, and disregard the rules set up to protect them and everyone else. In an article in the Brooklyn Ink this week, we see that other side of the coin. Cycling advocates will tell you that as the number of bikes increase, the number of accidents decrease. But no direct correlation between that cause and effect can be found. Instead, some caution, cyclists must be held responsible for the accidents and injuries they cause. Case in point: two cyclists on two separate occasions in San Francisco, hit and killed pedestrians crossing the street. In both cases, the bicyclist faced criminal charges. Continue reading
A thoughtful piece in the NY Times this week examines the lack of criminal charges in pedestrian accidents. According to the article, the NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad only investigated 2 percent of the near-3,000 serious, nonfatal crashes in the city last year. While this can be chalked up to a lack of staffing, some say it simply isn’t good enough.
The accident squad is a crew of only 20. They are only tasked with investigating fatal accidents or those where it is likely the victim will die. In other cases, usually, no investigation takes place at all. This offers little solace to accident victims who are severely injured by reckless or distracted drivers.
In this city, where many of us put miles on our feet everyday, it’s not unusual for people to be hit as they cross the busy city streets. And often, when the pedestrian is crossing with the light; the driver simply defends themselves with a simple, “I didn’t see them,” and carries on.
As pedestrians, we can follow all of the traffic safety rules, be cautious of where we walk and who we step in front of, and even wear reflective clothing at night. But if we are hit by a car, and we survive, there will likely be no criminal consequences for the driver—even if they were drunk. Continue reading
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
Two cabs collided on Monday, sending one onto the sidewalk. It was there that the taxi struck a young woman, sending her to the hospital with head injuries.
According to DNAinfo.com, the accident occurred on the corner of Second Avenue and East 79th Street. An SUV taxi was making a left onto 79th when a Crown Vic cab, traveling down 79th collided with it.
Both cab drivers escaped without injuries.
After the immediate impact, the SUV jumped the curb, where it struck the identity. According to DNAinfo.com, her identity and condition are unknown. However, witnesses say after being hit, she was face down in a pool of blood.
“He was running the red light, so he hit the pedestrian,” said the Crown Vic driver of the SUV cabbie.
A doorman at the Continental Plaza, near the intersection, said it isn’t uncommon for vehicles to fly through that intersection, trying to catch the lights. He ran outside when he heard the impact.
In a city this crowded, it isn’t surprising when a vehicle hits a pedestrian. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a tragic event and one worth discussing. Continue reading
Six people were killed last week in a tragic accident that occurred upstate on Route 11 near Fort Drum Army post. A truck driver plowed into the back of a line of cars who were waiting for a paving project on the highway.
According to the Washington Post, the police report that truck driver James A. Mills, 45, was alert at the time of the accident and just failed to notice the construction signs and the stopped vehicles. Mills reportedly tried to brake before the accident and “didn’t appear to be impaired or distracted,” according to state police.
Investigator Rick Hathaway reported that there were no text messages or calls immediately before the accident. He also said that Mills was cooperative and helped to pull a victim from their car before it caught fire.
Mills crashed into an SUV that burst into flames on impact. A family of four within the SUV died at the scene. The tractor trailer accident ultimately involved six cars as the SUV was pushed forward in the line of stopped vehicles. One additional victim died later at the hospital. Continue reading
An accident last week has animal right’s activists calling again for the end of the NYC carriage horse industry, an industry they say isn’t safe for the animals. This particular accident involved a motorcycle, SUV, and carriage horse. Though all of the people in the accident escaped injury-free, the horse had lacerations to the face.
Activists have reportedly been pushing to end the use of horses on city streets for years. This latest accident only adds fuel to their fire.
“This is going to happen over and over again; we know that,” said Edita Birnkrant, the New York director of Friends of Animals. “I want to challenge Mayor Bloomberg right now. How can you continue to justify this?”
It isn’t clear how this particular accident happened, though photos from DNAinfo.com show a motorcycle laying on its side in the street. An SUV was also reportedly involved. No person was injured and the horse will undergo a veterinary examination before determining the extent of his injuries.
New York’s carriage horses are a staple of the city. The sounds of their hooves moving through the park are nostalgic for many people. But are they a danger to themselves and others? Continue reading
11- year old Gabriel Larson was the only person riding in a NYC cab that survived a rainy accident this past week. His grandmother, taking him on the vacation of a lifetime, and the cab driver were both killed when the cab was hit by a garbage truck.
According to the NY Daily News, 60-year old Suzanne Nicholson wrapped her body around her grandson seconds before impact, protecting him from the blow of the truck. Both were rushed to Elmhurst General Hospital where Nicholson was declared dead and Larson was treated for his injuries.
The catastrophic car accident allegedly happened when the taxi they were riding in “clipped” the rear end of a Porsche, sending the Porsche rolling over onto its driver’s side. The cab also flipped onto its side, right before it was hit by a garbage truck. It was this impact that killed Nicholson and the cab driver, 46-year old Mohammed Hussain. Both the driver of the Porsche and the garbage truck escaped without injuries. Continue reading
There is no doubt that sending text messages behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster. But what if you are the person on the other side of the text—the one sending messages to a driver—can you be held responsible if an accident happens?
According to Morris County Superior Court Judge David Rand, you can’t.
Last week, Judge Rand ruled that a young woman could not be held liable for the text messages she was sending her boyfriend just before he was involved in an accident that resulted in a man and wife each losing a leg to amputation. Continue reading
Who can we blame for the majority of accidents in the city? That question was asked of New Yorkers in a recent poll from NY1 and Marist. What they found is that opinions vary and many cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians are quick to point the finger at someone else.
The vast majority, when presented with the question, “Who causes New York City Accidents—bicyclists, pedestrians, or motorists?” said that drivers were the ones to blame. Sixty-eight percent, in fact, said that those driving cars are at fault for most accidents. Seventy percent of men attributed accidents to motorists, while the number was slightly lower (65%) for women.
Coming in a distant second was the people who thought bicyclists contributed to most accidents, with 19%/ Finally 13% of respondents attributed accidents to pedestrians.
But what does this mean? Well, for one, that NYC is crowded and everyone plays a role in avoiding accidents and two, not everyone agrees on who is to blame.
Some of those surveyed admit to their own shortcomings, things that they might do that could increase the likelihood of an accident. One pedestrian, interviewed by NY1, said that he is often oblivious to the traffic around him because he, like many others these days, is usually wearing earphones and can’t hear what’s going on around him. Continue reading
Sixteen people are facing charges after bilking the insurance industry out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their crime? Faking auto accidents to collect money for injuries. The group is facing a multitude of crimes and several years in prison for their alleged frauds.
The fraudulent activity is said to have begun in 2009, according to the Insurance Journal. It was then that the group of 16 began causing accidents or faking accidents to get paid. They would hit unsuspecting drivers or get in accidents with each other to take advantage of the No-Fault insurance coverage.
No-Fault insurance allows people involved in accidents to collect up to $50,000 for injuries. In addition, following an accident, injured parties can file lawsuits, something the suspected fraudsters did as well.
In some of the cases, the suspects rented U-Haul trucks and crashed them into livery cabs. They would have one of their codefendants hail the cab and the other crash into them as they slowed. Another scheme they used was walking into vehicles or slapping the vehicle, claiming they were hit.
The sixteen are facing charges like insurance fraud, falsifying business records, grand larceny, and misdemeanor conspiracy. In all, they made off with over $400,000. Continue reading