BAY RIDGE — A man was struck and killed by a car that local officials said was speeding while walking his dog in Bay Ridge tonight.
According to authorities, on Thursday, March 5, the 66-year-old victim was at 101st Street and Fourth Avenue when he was struck by a Mercedes Benz. The man was pronounced dead on the scene.
The driver remained on the scene and the investigation remains ongoing.
A valet from an area restaurant witnessed the accident.
“There’s a car driving down,” said Steven Paul. “I heard a boom. I went to go see what happened. There was a person laying lifeless there, so then I saw an ambulance down the block, helping someone else out. I said, you need to come here. Someone just got hit by a car. The driver was a young kid. I feel bad for him. He stayed on scene and tried to help. The pedestrian was struck at the crosswalk and flew onto the sidewalk. I feel awful for the pedestrian. Rest in peace.”
Another witness, Tony Spinelli, told this paper, “One of the guys we have working for us here witnessed the whole accident. Guy apparently was hit by a speeding car, threw him across the street. It’s been an ongoing problem here for over 20 years.
“There have been so many pedestrian fatalities at Fifth Avenue, Fourth Avenue, Third Avenue,” Spinelli went on, “and it’s definitely something they should get control over more instead of worrying about putting speed cameras and ticketing everyone. The speed cameras aren’t stopping them.”
Spinelli said that young drivers speeding has been a chronic problem in the area.
“You have the young kids driving around a sports car, hitting people,”he added. “They got the suped-up exhausts. They don’t know how to handle it. There’s no need to drive like that. Obey the street laws. You want to show off your car? Take It to the show. Don’t take it to Fourth Avenue and kill somebody.”
According to Spinelli, the victim was a local resident.
“We’ve seen him a hundred times walking his dog,” he said. ‘He lives around here. The dog ran when he got hit. A lot of people around here knew him. He was just walking his dog and crossing the street. He had the right of way.”
Local elected officials reacted with anger to the incident.
“Here’s what we know: tonight a local 67-year-old man, a husband with two adult children, was out for a walk with his dog near Cannonball Park,” wrote Councilmember Justin Brannan. “He was crossing the street, in the crosswalk, with the light, when he was struck and killed by a 19-year-old reckless driver who remained on the scene. Excessive speed does appear to have been a factor. “
He also added, “tonight was a horrible but avoidable tragedy. Tonight, lives were forever changed — most importantly for the family of the victim; but also for the driver and his family; for the eyewitnesses. For people who get behind the wheel of their automobile and think they are the only person on the planet who matters, there is unfortunately no known antidote. Common sense, courtesy and respect for human life are things that unfortunately cannot be legislated. Some drivers need to realize that there are actually things in life that are more important than getting from one red light to the next as quickly as humanly possible. Getting to that light is not worth a person’s life. We have a speeding and dangerous driving epidemic in this neighborhood, and today it took someone’s life. I am outraged and sickened.”
He also stated that he is “calling upon our precinct to immediately and drastically escalate speed enforcement in the neighborhood. I am also calling on the NYC Department of Transportation to recognize our problem for what it is: an emergency.”
“As our city grapples with an increase in pedestrian fatalities over the last few months, it is imperative that drivers obey speed limits and slow down. It is a shame that this gentleman’s family will never get to see him again,” added Assemblymember Mahtylde Frontus, who wrote on Facebook that she was “shocked and outraged” by the latest traffic fatality.
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes agreed.
“I am deeply shaken by the death of a pedestrian who was walking his dog in a crosswalk on Fourth Ave and 101st St in Bay Ridge. He was killed by a speeding driver,” he said in a statement. “When are we going to WAKE UP, SLOW DOWN, and realize that we are literally killing each other to save a few minutes? Just last week I introduced new safe streets legislation to bring greater consequences for reckless drivers and change the culture of dangerous behavior behind the wheel. There’s so much we have to do — from street redesigns to passing new laws— and we have to act with urgency like lives depend on it.”