A 6-year-old girl was seriously injured while walking to school with her mother on Tuesday morning when they were struck by a driver in a crosswalk on Northern Blvd, according to witnesses. The collision occurred one mile from the spot where Mayor de Blasio signed 11 pieces of street safety legislation into law a day before the mother and her daughter were hit.
The incident happened at 8:30 a.m. while the two were walking to P.S. 228 in East Elmhurst. According to witnesses, the pair were crossing in the crosswalk with the light when they were struck by a black car making a left turn onto Northern Boulevard from 92nd Street.
Cristina Furlong, an activist with street safety group Make Queens Safer, identified the girl as Chunli Mendoza, and says she suffered a collapsed lung, broken rib, dislocated hip and broken leg. Furlong believes that Mendoza will be immobilized for at least six weeks. "We often think of fatalities, but you can imagine that kind of injury over the summer," Furlong said. Chunli's mother reportedly suffered a fractured foot, and has since been released from East Elmhurst hospital.
Furlong, who did not witness Tuesday's collision, tells us the driver of the black car was an off-duty NYPD officer. However, an NYPD spokeswoman tells us that only one person was injured in the collision, and that the vehicle involved was a white pickup truck. The spokeswoman said she had no information regarding whether or not an NYPD officer was driving the vehicle.
According to Make Queens Safer, P.S. 228 is one of 200 schools in the city with crossing guard vacancies. The group is holding a rally at the collision site tonight in hopes of getting a traffic enforcement officer assigned to Northern Blvd. "While other graduating kindergartners are with their families celebrating a joyous and momentous day, this little girl lies in a hospital bed battling serious injuries after she and her mother were hit by a car as they crossed Northern Blvd on their way to PS 228, a school whose oldest students are second graders," Laura Newman, a spokesperson for the group, said in a statement. The rally will be held at 6:30 p.m.
On Monday, de Blasio signed into law a slew of legislation stemming from his much-touted Vision Zero initiative, which aims to cut down on pedestrian deaths citywide. He staged the signing at Northern Boulevard and 61st Street, where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was killed by a tractor trailer truck driver in December. As de Blasio noted in a statement: "Today is another step on our path to fulfilling that promise, and sparing more families the pain of losing a son, a daughter, or a parent in a senseless tragedy."