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These Are 10 of the People Killed by Cars in NYC This Year

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 04:00 AM

Here are the stories of 10 people who have died in car crashes in 2014 – 10 of the 138 killed on New York City streets. They are children and seniors, New Yorkers and visitors, drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Perla Reyes, a young mother, had hoped to move her daughter out of the Bronx and give her more freedom. Nine-year-old Cooper Stock would high-five strangers at Knicks Games. Alex Shear collected pop culture artifacts and the stories of the people who made them. Pedro Santiago read Cervantes, when he wasn’t delivering food. Zack Fortune was building a career as a D.J. Kelly Gordon baked fancy cakes for friends, when she wasn’t studying. Ida Rosenblatt took up tai chi and yoga after her husband died. Philbert Williams hoped his degree in criminal justice would lead him to the CIA. Five-year-old Roshard Charles wanted to be a doctor.

You can read full profiles of Perla Reyes, Cooper Stock, Alexander Shear, Pedro Santiago, Zack Fortune, Kelly Gordon, Ida Rosenblatt, Philbert Williams, Charity Hicks, and Roshard Charles. They'll live in our Mean Streets tracker, and new profiles will be added in the months ahead. 

These are just a handful of the traffic deaths this year. We want to tell more of those stories.

If you know someone who has been killed in a traffic crash in 2014, we'd like to hear from you about who they were – their hobbies and hopes, dreams and goals. Call and leave a personal memory at (347) 352-5686, or email transponation@gmail.com.

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Comments [9]

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Although I do give my condolences to those that there were hit by cars, I do feel that there are two sides to every story. A lot of times I am only hearing the effects, but never the causes. Something tells me that some of those who died may have placed themselves into harm's way especially if they were jaywalking, and such deaths would have been avoided if that was the case. Meanwhile, there were accidents where the motorist wasn't even breaking the law at hence no negligence was given. Seeing those pictures does remind me of those trying to defend Hamas and say that Israel is the bad guy no matter what they do while turning a blind eye to Hamas even if they attacked first. Fortunately, I don't buy into this and see through it all for what it really is. Overall, you anti-car fanatics can grill me all you want, even wish for my death, or even demand me to be censored, but I am not scared of you, and threats don't work on the Israelis, which is why we're not afraid to stop Hamas.

Jul. 31 2014 02:25 PM
David from Kensington BK

This reporting is fantastic.
I enjoyed the idea of paying respect to the actual lives of people who were killed. Auto incidents are accepted as "accidents" but the truth is all incidents are avoidable. I agree with the comments that indicate drivers need to be more aware (especially the East Villager who's interesting story about being lectured by one such "auto-pilot" who ran a red). Unfortunately, these casualties are not just statistics. They are real people, with real lives and stories. To be fair, some of these pedestrians and cyclists may claim some responsibility for their own respective lack of awareness. NYC is a dangerous place, due to its density and relative anonymity. Does this mean we should have traffic cameras at every intersection? NO! However, it does mean "Be CAREFUL!!!"...walking, cycling, and especially driving. Drivers control 1000-Lb weapons and many tend to take this responsibility for granted.

Jul. 31 2014 09:48 AM
Guest from NYC

Unacceptable deaths.

Make change.

Jul. 31 2014 02:08 AM
Victor Mason from Mamaroneck, NY

Thanks for this. In Japan, drivers, whether drunk or sober, go to jail for killing pedestrians, cyclists or road workers. It helps to instill a sense of responsibility, and we do in most of the United States. In New York City, many drivers speed, tail-gate, fail to give signals or violate the law in other ways, with impunity. What saves the rest of us is that most drivers here still drive very responsibly.

The problem is that the bad drivers in this region, between New Jersey and Boston, are among the worst in the US. As a one-time driving teacher in Los Angeles, I find it inexplicable that so many intersections and highways here lack video cameras. Apparently, absurd concern for the "privacy rights" of bad drivers out in public places trumps the rights of the public to a safe walking, cycling and driving environment.

Jul. 30 2014 04:31 PM
Peter from Manhattan

The prevailing attitude in this country is that crashes are accidents; accidents happen and traffic deaths are just the price we pay for mobility or convenience. Moreover, traffic deaths are so common that they barely make the news, and law enforcement isn't much interested in investigating.

If we are to make progress toward livable streets, then all this needs to change. Each crash is caused by someone, and those responsible must be held accountable. Each traffic death is a tragedy, and every single one should be news. This is an important segment. Thank you for doing this.

Jul. 30 2014 01:44 PM
East Villager from East Village

@ Larry Trepel:

As a fellow cyclist and pedestrian, I disagree with you. In order for car drivers to realize they're not operating a toy, but a potentially deadly weapon, we absolutely need to raise awareness of the massive, real human toll of the pain and destruction they inflict. Driving a car is a huge responsibility.

As is, just 2 weeks ago I was hit by a driver who ran a red light, and when he got out of his car, he told me I "should be more careful", and lectured me on how "biking in the city is dangerous." Indeed, because of people like him who run red lights with no consequence for them. People need to become aware of the cruel impact of the choices they make behind the wheel. And if NYPD continues to not enforce our traffic laws properly, the only way to do this might be to highlight the lives who were tragically cut short by jerks who treat their cars as if they were toys.

Jul. 30 2014 01:27 PM
Larry Trepel

I'm sorry for these people and their families and friends. But really, what is the purpose of this story? Is it to just pay tribute to them, or is it part of some effort to reduce traffic deaths? I find it difficult to see that it it is worthwhile to keep an updated spreadsheet and web page to track all the traffic deaths in NYC, and the biographies of those unfortunate people who were killed. I bicycle all over the city, so am aware of the perils involved. But if something happened to me I have no desire to be included in this web project, with a helpful little icon next to my name showing what category I fit into. Seems like the authors need to find some better way to spend their time.

Jul. 30 2014 09:23 AM
akil from Brooklyn

I've been working on a tool to help citizens, activists, community board members, and city council members get an idea of where crashes are happening in the city. You can check it out and play around with it at: http://crashstats.wolvesintheserverroom.com/neighborhood/Kingsbridge

Jul. 30 2014 09:02 AM
Roberto Gautier from Brooklyn Heights

As you know, the American Lung Association's most recent annual report gave NYC an "F" grade for air quality. The New York City Community Air Survey, a project of the NYC Health Department and Queens College's Center for the Study of Natural Systems, has identified "hot spots" where there is a convergence of traffic, noise and air pollution. I live at 140 Cadman Plaza West, 23 floors above the exit ramp from the Brooklyn Bridge. This is certainly a vortex of serious health and quality of life disasters. Not only is there 24/7 traffic on the BQE, the Manhattan Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge and the roadway to the staycation spot of DUMBO on Cadman Plaza West, but there is the strong effect of marine pollution in the port.
City agencies, like the DEP and the DOT, operate under outdated regulatory guidelines which allow dangerous levels of traffic, noise and air pollution to damage public health and quality of life. When thousands of people say that their right to sleep has been taken away by after-hours variances and other bureaucratic ruses, this is obviously a cause for outrage.
Take a look at the Brooklyn Bridge Rehabilitation Project's impact on the community.

Jul. 30 2014 07:42 AM

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