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

By Celia Bernhardt | [email protected]

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.”