NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Two pedestrians were killed in separate crashes early this morning in Brooklyn.
Police are searching for a truck driver they say is responsible for a deadly hit and run in Brooklyn.
Officers closed down parts of the Bensonhurst neighborhood for hours Thursday morning as they scoured the area for evidence that could give them better insight into how this fatal accident unfolded.
Police tape blocked off the busy intersection at 86th Street and Bay Parkway a little after 4 a.m. as investigators looked for clues into the accident involving a truck and a pedestrian.
Police say the victim was dragged by a private sanitation truck.
The victim was identified as Deborah Mutell, 67, of Brooklyn.
“Hopefully the driver will come forward,” said NYPD Deputy Chief Charles Scholl.
The NYPD’s collision investigation squad spent hours reviewing nearby cameras for clues into what happened. A witness said he saw the victim daily on her way to work.
“So as I get here, I see all this, and I’m not thinking anything like that until I cross the street, but she was covered,” said Valentin Rodriguez.
EMS pronounced the woman dead at the scene.
“It’s an open road. They want to get to that highway so they can go on to work, but in the process you’re taking people out. You’re taking people out, you got to slow down,” Rodriguez said.
“These accidents are happening more and more. We encourage our elderly pedestrians to be careful when they are crossing the street. We want to reduce these fatalities,” Scholl said.
Since the start of the year, at least eight pedestrians have been killed by vehicles across the five boroughs, according to police:
- 1/1: 74-year-old killed; victim was crossing the street when struck by a car
- 1/3: 70-year-old killed; victim was crossing the street when struck by a sedan which fled the scene
- 1/7: 10-year-old killed; truck was making a right turn
- 1/7: 68-year-old killed; victim was crossing mid-block when struck by a truck
- 1/10: 68-year-old killed; van was making a right turn
- 1/15: 67-year-old killed by car making a left turn
- 1/16: Adult woman killed; truck fled the scene in Brooklyn
The fatal accident comes days after city officials and stakeholders representing trucking associations came together to discuss new initiatives they hope will address the problem.
“The first one is to call on the national truck manufacturers who sell trucks in Europe and in the United States to install sensors around the truck so that drivers get the images of pedestrians and cyclists around them, especially when they turn,” said City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez.
It’s technology they say is lifesaving and could have been in this case.
The goal is to implement this by 2024. Councilman Mark Treyger says he’s complained about dangerous intersections in his district for years.
“Where is the moral urgency to get this work done in a timely manner?” he said.
“This is completely unacceptable, I am looking to hold a hearing very soon to discuss street/vehicle safety measures, especially at intersections,” Rodriguez wrote on Twitter.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted, “My heart breaks for the victims’ loved ones. These tragedies are avoidable, but only if we prioritize people over cars and trucks on our streets.”
“She should be alive today, and this company needs to be held accountable,” Treyger said.
Police are searching for the driver responsible to do just that. They’re reviewing surveillance video from the area to help identify the truck and the driver.
The MTA confirmed it was a B-41 bus, which stayed on the scene.
According to police, the woman apparently missed her stop and the bus driver tried to pull over at Flatbush and Flatlands. The woman forced the front doors of the bus open as it was moving, police said. She hit a pole, fell out of the bus, and was run over by the rear wheels.
“The death of a woman who was struck by bus #4236 operating on the B41 route this morning is tragic,” said Craig Cipriano, acting president of MTA Bus Company.
The victim has not yet been identified. Police say she was in her 30s.