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Bronx BP Diaz Calls For Safety Probe in Wake of Parkway Crash

Monday, April 30, 2012

WNYC

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Junior is calling for a thorough safety inspection of the overpass on a stretch of the Bronx River Parkway where a crash killed seven on Sunday.

Three generations of the same family, including three kids, were killed when an SUV leapt a guardrail on the Bronx River Parkway and plunged into a ravine on Sunday.

Several accidents have occurred on that stretch of parkway, including one last summer in which two were injured, and another fatal crash in 2006.

Diaz wants the investigation to include the parkway’s guardrails. He also stressed that the road surface should be better maintained.

"Why is it if the rest if the parkway is always smooth, in the elevated portions there's always potholes," he asked. "There are joiners in the elevated section and it's always a problem to get over them, there's always something wrong with the roadway."

A spokesman for the American Automobile Association's New York City affiliate also  expressed concerns about a number of issues on the parkway, such as narrow lanes, steep hills, tight turns, no breakdown lane and inadequate guardrails.

AAA’s Robert Sinclair said the Bronx River Parkway was opened in 1925 and lacks modern engineering features.

Diaz said the state Department of Transportation is investigating the accident. Calls to the department were not immediately returned.

The NYPD said at a briefing Monday that Maria Gonzalez was driving at 68 mph when she bumped the concrete highway divider and damaged a tire. Police say she was likely going with the flow of traffic, which is often faster than the posted 50 miles per hour speed limit. 

The city medical examiner said all seven passengers died of blunt force trauma to the head. The deaths have been ruled accidental. Toxicology reports won't be ready for several weeks.

Diaz said  Juan Gonzalez, husband of the woman who was driving the SUV and father of one of the girls in the vehicle was, “devastated.

"He's distraught." Diaz said of Gonzalez. "In the Bronx and as New Yorkers, we are crying and mourning for this family. Three generations is really tough to lose and we should make sure that this never happens again."

Relatives said they're wracked with grief and shock. A wake is planned for Thursday.

With the Associated Press

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Comments [4]

Matt from NYC

"There are joiners in the elevated section.." Yes Mr. Diaz, that's the way you build spans subject to expansion and contraction. Pay attention the next time you cross a bridge.

For all the issues that road may have, there should be more focus on SUVs in general. Another SUV toppled off that span a year ago. These "cars" are really trucks and have a much higher center of gravity and are more likely to lead to occupant death and injury according to NTSA data. Not to mention the horrors they inflict on others in multi-vehicle accidents.

The parkway was designed for CARS, not trucks dressed up like cars. Had the family been driving a sedan, they would have probably survived.

May. 03 2012 04:03 AM
Peg

Roads made in 1925 were never designed to allow for 68MPH, yet NYC drivers risk their lives daily to speed around the city. Fix the roads, limit the traffic or drastically lower and enforce safe speed limits because the current situation is an accident ready to happen. How unfortunate for this family - it could have been anyone's family.

May. 01 2012 04:42 PM
lide from NYC

This is a terribly tragic event and the highways around NYC are atrocious, but let's also talk about speeding. Everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere in NYC, and doesn't think anyone is going to get hurt, until they do.

May. 01 2012 12:06 PM
john from office

Mr. Diaz sounds as inarticulate as ever. The sound bite makes him sound like an idiot.

May. 01 2012 08:37 AM

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