A NYC Department of Sanitation truck driver struck and killed a woman crossing a Bronx street early Tuesday morning, pausing only briefly before driving away, a witness told the NY Daily News. No charges have been filed as of this afternoon, but the 33-year-old driver reportedly turned himself in today for questioning.
The NYPD received a report about a "motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian" at Willis Avenue and East 138th Street just after 6:30 a.m. Upon arrival, officers found a woman "unconscious and unresponsive" with "severe body trauma" lying in the street. EMS pronounced her dead at the scene, and investigators determined that the sanitation worker—driving a 2007 City Sanitation Sand Spreader, according to police—hit the woman while making a left turn onto Willis.
In a statement, a Sanitation Department spokesperson said that the driver in question had been suspended, and that the agency was "cooperating fully with the police investigation," in addition to conducting an investigation of its own. And while a local bodega owner told the News that the particular intersection does see a lot of crashes, garbage truck drivers continue to endanger pedestrians and cyclists on New York streets.
Commercial carting companies, with their poorly maintained fleets and overworked drivers, may be more notorious menaces to public safety, but city-employed drivers have also been responsible for fatalities. In 2009, for example, a city Sanitation worker hit a woman using a wheelchair in a Manhattan bike lane; in 2014, another fatally struck a man in a Crown Heights crosswalk. In August of 2018, a city Sanitation truck driver critically injured a cyclist in Bushwick, and in October 2018, a city Sanitation driver ran into and killed a man while going the wrong way on a one-way street. The driver in that incident was arrested and charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and failing to exercise due care.