Multiple Pedestrian Deaths Across Boro in One Week Spark Mourning and Protest Plans

By Celia Bernhardt |

It’s been a deadly week for pedestrians in Queens: at least three were fatally struck by a vehicle in separate incidents. 

On Wednesday, March 13, eight-year-old Bayron Palmoni Arroyo and 10-year-old Bradley Palomino were struck by a 52-year-old with a history of reckless driving. The two brothers were walking with their mother in a crosswalk at 31st Ave and 100th St in East Elmhurst when a pickup truck hit them. Bayron died at the scene. 

The driver, Jose Barcia, is being charged with criminally negligent homicide, failure to yield to a pedestrian, failure to exercise due care, and driving at an unsafe speed. He pleaded not guilty to the homicide charge, and was let out on supervised release. Streetsblog NYC reported that Barcia’s license currently remains valid, and that no restrictions have been placed on his use of a car. ABC7 reported that Barcia has been ordered to return to court June 24. 

Just a day before, a fatal crash occured in Middle Village. 43-year-old Natalia Garcia-Valencia was crossing 80th st when she was struck, and later died at Elmhurst Hospital. 38-year-old Mitchell Roderick, a Long Island resident, made a right turn that is illegal for trucks not making local deliveries, Streetsblog NYC reported. He was driving a Department of Environmental Protection truck. 

Then on Thursday, March 14, 58-year-old Elisa Maria Bellere lost her life. The Flushing resident was jogging in Bayside when she was hit by a 73-year-old man in an SUV on the Clearview Expressway service road. She was later pronounced dead at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Queens. QNS reported that it was unclear whether or not the car had a green light at the time. 

An “emergency” march for pedestrian safety is planned for March 22 at 4 p.m. at PS110, 43-18 97th Place. State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assemblymember Ron Kim, Families for Safe Streets, Transportation Alternatives, and other civic organizations are leading the march, titled Queens Children’s March for Safe Streets. 

“There is a crisis of traffic violence in the World’s Borough,” reads a description for the event from Transportation Alternatives. “Join us as our communities are ringing the alarm bells, we cannot allow anyone else to be killed on our streets.”

Cyclist killed by truck in Sunnyside

(Oscar Rivera Photo)


By Evan Triantafilidis

A bicyclist was killed when he was struck by a box truck at the intersection of 47th Street and 47th Avenue in Sunnyside on Wednesday morning.

At about 8:30 in the morning, a truck, operated by a 33-year-old driver with a suspended license, was traveling westbound on 47th Avenue and attempted to make a right-hand turn onto 47th Street when the accident happened, police say.

The 58-year-old Forest Hills man, Qiang Tu, was riding west in a designated bike lane along 47th Avenue. He was transported to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The operator of the vehicle, Shakai Waye of Newark, New Jersey, remained on scene and was later arrested and charged with aggravated unlicensed operator.

Juan Restrepo, a senior organizer at Transportation Alternatives, blamed the loss of life on the de Blasio administration.

“Qiang Tu’s life could have been saved if Mayor de Blasio prioritized people over parking,” he said in statement. “Instead, even though he was biking along a so-called ‘designated bike route,’ there is zero physical protection from deadly cars here, only painted sharrows on the road.

Restrepo called on the city to prioritize protected bike lans in the southern section of Sunnyside on routes like 47th Avenue that are popular with bicyclists headed to the Kosciuszko Bridge.

“Paint is not protection,” he said. “Instead of getting closer to Vision Zero, we are getting further away. But let’s be clear, Vision Zero isn’t failing, Mayor de Blasio is failing.”

Oscar Rivera Photo

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing