A driver struck and killed an elderly man attempting to cross Grand Street in Williamsburg this afternoon, according to the NYPD. The unidentified driver fled the scene behind the wheel of a white box truck, adding to a handful of fatal hit-and-run crashes in New York City since December.
The 85-year-old pedestrian, whose name has not been released, was struck in front of 584 Grand Street near the corner of Lorimer Street shortly after 1:00 p.m., according to police. An NYPD spokesman could not confirm whether the man was crossing the street in a crosswalk, or with a walk signal. He succumbed to his injuries at Bellevue Hospital.
No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.
Safe Streets advocates are calling for the Department of Transportation to study possible pedestrian and cyclist improvements on Grand Street, which saw dozens of injuries and two fatalities last year. Matthew von Ohlen, an avid cyclist, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver a few blocks away from today's crash last summer. Specifically, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives is calling for a Grand Street Peopleway, arguing that surface traffic will only increase on the lead-up to the Williamsburg Bridge with the impending L Train shutdown.
— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) January 9, 2017
In response to the recent cluster of hit-and-run deaths, Manhattan Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez introduced legislation last week that would create a hit-and-run reward fund of up to $1,000 per tip. But advocates say stronger measures must be taken, at the state level. Currently, the maximum penalty for a DWI exceeds that for a hit-and-run—a discrepancy they say motivates drivers to flee.
Under current law, it is a C felony to kill someone while driving under the influence, but only a D felony to leave the scene of a fatal crash.