After a driver struck and seriously injured an elderly woman in Midtown earlier this month, the woman succumbed to her injuries and passed away, police confirmed today. The driver has since been charged under the city's Right of Way Law for failing to yield to a pedestrian.
The ultimately fatal crash took place at about 11 a.m. on July 1st, at the corner of Second Avenue and East 58th Street. 79-year-old Teresa Martinelli was walking in the crosswalk while she had the walk signal, when the driver of a pick-up truck made a left turn into the crosswalk and struck her, causing her to end up underneath the vehicle, police said. The driver, 63-year-old Michael Truszowski, remained at the scene.
Martinelli was taken to Cornell Hospital in critical condition. Police weren't immediately made aware of her death, but said today that she passed away shortly after arriving in the hospital.
Witnesses of the crash told reporters at the scene that the intersection, which is right by the ramp onto the Queensboro Bridge, is particularly dangerous—indeed, there have been a staggering 73 crashes there since the beginning of 2015, seven of which led to injuries of pedestrians and cyclists, according to NYPD crash data. Since 2009, 42 people have been injured in crashes at the intersection, 11 of whom were pedestrians struck by motorists, Streetsblog reports.
"[Drivers] don't even think they're in Manhattan anymore since they're getting on the bridge and there's not a proper light," one resident told the Daily News. "If I was [the victim's] family I would be outraged...This could've been prevented."
The Right of Way Law, passed in 2014, allows police to charge reckless drivers with a misdemeanor for injuring or killing a pedestrian. Prior to that law's passage, drivers had to be driving while under the influence or breaking numerous laws to face charges, unless officers happened to witness the crash. A Queens judge recently ruled that the law is unconstitutional, but safe streets advocates disputed that ruling, and the Mayor's office said that the city will continue to enforce the law.
Streetsblog notes that the crash occurred on a stretch of Second Avenue where the DOT is planning to install a new protected bike lane, which will also add a pedestrian island at this intersection and have the effect of narrowing the crossing distance for pedestrians. Since 2010, drivers have killed four pedestrians and one cyclist on Second Avenue between 59th Street and 43rd Street, including Martinelli.