NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 36-year-old off-duty police officer has been killed in a car crash in Queens.
The 10-year veteran and mother of two, identified as Elisa Toro of the Bronx, was driving home from her shift when her car struck a guard rail and then a cement barrier on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge ramp just before 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The car then overturned and slammed into a vacant store on Queens Plaza South in Long Island City, police said. The storefront on Queens Plaza South has been hit before.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called the accident a tragedy for the NYPD.
“She was ejected from the car and she was pronounced dead at the scene,” said Kelly.
No other injuries were reported in the crash.
Residents and the store’s owner have been complaining about the traffic pattern in the area for years.
The site of Tuesday’s crash, infamously known as “dead man’s curve,” was the scene of a series of serious vehicle crashes, which left two dead, since 2011.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, in March 2011, an out of control car coming off the ramp smashed into a restaurant and salon, killing a pedestrian.
Eight days later, another car off the ramp smashed into the stores, which left a passenger dead.
A month later, on May 21, a third car slammed into a livery cab and the concrete barrier that had been erected.
“Not dissimilar to a race car track,” scrap metal worker Doug Korman told Diamond.
For the third time in as many years, a storefront had to be repaired after a car smashed into in.
Toro’s car flipped over concrete barrier that was put in place to avoid such accidents.
“They’ve reconfigured the roads and made it all pretty like California but people are still dying here. It’s time to do something,” the worker added. “This could happen to any one of us.”
Despite the barrier, an attorney for the two store owners said the ramp is fraught with danger.
“There is a sharp turn. If there’s an error in misjudgement or calculation in navigating that sharp turn, there’s no room to recover,” Scott Agulnick told Slattery.
Those who live nearby said the treacherous curve is well known.
“They going too, too quick and if the ground is a little moist, they have no control,” local resident Tom Prestia told Slattery.
The Department of Transportation said since the first two accidents, the speed on the ramp was reduced to 20 miles per hour. A variety of reflectors and rumble strips were also installed to warn of a reduced speed zone.
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