By Marissa Maier with additional reporting by Lillian Rizzo
Delancey Street, often referred to as one of the most dangerous thoroughfares in New York City, was the site of a fatal accident on Friday, Jan. 13. NYPD report that a 12-year-old African American girl was killed by a minivan in the early afternoon. Police say the girl was crossing the street with a group of friends near the Williamsburg Bridge when a 2006 Toyota minivan hit her. Officer Michael DeBonis revealed that the girl attended Castle Rock Middle School, which is located on nearby Henry Street.
Photo Caption: Delancey Street near the Williamsburg Bridge. The thoroughfare has been the site of several accidents including one on Friday, Jan. 13, in which a 12-year-old middle school student was killed. (Photo courtesy of Googlemaps).
The driver of the vehicle, Officer DeBonis continued, was a 58-year-old Asian man and after the accident he remained on the scene. While the investigation is ongoing, at this point police don’t suspect criminal charges will be made.
The 911 call came in at around 2:36, but FDNY representative Jim Long says the girl was already in cardiac arrest and wasn’t breathing by the time medical personnel arrived at the scene. She was rushed to New York Downtown Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
Currently labeled one of the “deadliest” streets in the city, Delancey Street is a thoroughfare that cuts through the Lower East Side and is now known for recent fatalities and over 500 car accidents in the last 12 years. The chaos, which usually ensues on weekends and rush hours, has built up over the years as more people populate the Lower East Side and more cyclists use the Williamsburg Bridge.
In May 2011 a pedestrian was crushed to death by a private sanitation truck at the crosswalk of Delancey and Essex Streets. Months later in August, a bicyclist was hit and killed by a semi-tractor trailer at Delancey and Chrystie Streets.
“Today an unspeakable tragedy happened on Delancey Street. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the young victim. We must continue to work together as a community to make Delancey Street safer for everyone,” said New York State Senator Dan Squadron of this most recent tragedy.
Last fall, Community Board 3, the Department of Transportation and the Police Department put together a Delancey Street Safety Working Group to work on both short and long term improvements.
“I believe it is one of the more dangerous streets in the five boroughs,” said Squadron at the time.
According to numbers obtained from the DOT, from 2005 to 2009 there was an average of nine pedestrian injuries per year just at the intersection of Essex and Delancey. From 2005 to 2010 there were two deaths at the intersection.
While countdown clocks were installed at certain points on Delancey Street last year, it seems more measures might be needed. Gothamist interviewed one witness who was with the girl. The witness reported that the group was crossing the street when the light changed quickly and the girl accidentally tripped.
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