On Monday morning, 13-year-old Jazmine Marin was killed while walking to school in Ozone Park. A 55-year-old man, driving a green Chevy sedan, struck Marin and another girl at the intersection of Cross Bay Boulevard and 149th Avenue.
Marin was pronounced dead at Jamaica Medical Center, while the second victim sustained serious but non-life-threatening leg injuries.
Police sources told the Daily News that no charges were likely against the driver, whose identity is being withheld by the NYPD, and that police already believed the driver had the green light. Yet that intersection has already been slated by the Department of Transportation for safety improvements as part of a new bus route along Cross Bay Boulevard.
Marin is one of four pedestrians killed in New York City over the past week, as fatalities continue to outpace last year’s toll. A year ago yesterday, 96 pedestrians had been killed by drivers. This year, the city has already seen 114 pedestrian fatalities.
City Hall cautions that the investigation in Marin’s case is ongoing and that no decisions about criminality have been made.
“From reviewing available camera footage to interviewing witnesses, we conduct thorough crash investigations of which the conclusions are the only driver of charges,” said mayoral spokesperson Austin Finan. “The integrity of these investigations is a top priority and charges are only laid when sufficient proof has been acquired.”
— NYDN Transit (@NYDNTransit) October 25, 2016
The same intersection where Marin was killed has had one other pedestrian fatality and two severe injuries since 2012. Planned improvements to the intersection, which are slated for 2017, include restricting left-bound turns and adding a pedestrian refuge. The six-lane boulevard is typical of the roadways that the de Blasio administration has been targeting as part of its Vision Zero campaign, which some activists believe has essentially abandoned its goal of eliminating pedestrian fatalities.
The de Blasio administration believes that fatalities can be further reduced if the city were allowed to install speed cameras on corridors like Cross Bay Boulevard, where Marin was killed. By state law, speed cameras are only allowed within 1,320 feet (just a little more than a city block) of school property.
The NYPD rarely tickets or arrests drivers at the scene of pedestrian fatalities, leaving grieving families to have to press the department’s Collision Investigation Squad to follow through with thorough investigations. This weekend, however, the NYPD did follow through with an arrest.
On Friday night, a woman was dragged by an MTA bus for several blocks before passersby alerted the driver that someone was caught under the wheel. The driver got out to inspect but thought it was a prank and started driving again. Only when an officer stopped the bus again did the driver realize he had killed 68-year-old Bella-Yury Krementsova. The driver, 63-year-old Roger Weckworth, was charged with failure to yield, a misdemeanor.
On Saturday, the NYPD also arrested a driver for a hit-and-run earlier this month in Brooklyn, but only charged him with leaving the scene of an accident. Zayats Joseph, 22, killed 64-year-old Krystyna Iwanowicz while she was pushing a walker across Avenue J on the evening of October 8. The NYPD actually arresting a hit-and-run driver is rare: In the 2016 financial year, only 13 arrests were made after 38 deadly hit-and-runs.
The driver of a red Toyota SUV, who remained at the scene of a crash, wasn’t charged with any crime on Saturday after maneuvering around a waiting car on an exit ramp in the Bronx, hitting a pedestrian that stopped car was waiting for. The pedestrian’s identity has not yet been released.
And last Tuesday, 92-year-old Marie Guido was also killed in the Bronx, by a dump truck making a left turn while she was in a crosswalk. The 24-year-old driver was not cited or arrested following the accident.