The accident happened...
By Chris Fuchs
A 73-year-old woman crossing 71st Road in Forest Hills was hit by a van making a left-hand turn onto Queens Boulevard last week. The driver was not arrested and the woman was in stable condition Thursday night, the police said.
The accident happened about noon Thursday, when a van driven by a 50-year-old man, employed by United Cerebral Palsy of Queens, was turning left onto Queens Boulevard from 71st Road, said Officer Joseph Cavitolo, a police spokesman. The woman, Edilia Garcia of Rego Park, was walking south along Queens Boulevard when she was hit, the officer said.
Giuseppe Randazzo, manager of Tutta Pasta on 71st Road, said he and several customers heard a womans screams shortly after noon. When his customers went outside to see what happened, he said, they saw Garcia lying on the pavement, bleeding from her head. The customers ran back inside, got several towels from the restaurant and rushed back out again, wrapping her head with the towels to stanch the bleeding, he said. The police arrived soon after.
Garcia was taken to Parkway Hospital where she was in stable condition Thursday night, the police said. The driver was not arrested or issued any summonses.
Gene Mahon, director of finance for United Cerebral Palsy of Queens, declined to identify the driver, but said he has been employed by the organization for three years. At the time of the accident, the van was unoccupied, though usually it transports disabled patients from one location to another.
Its a tough, tough boulevard, Mahon said. Its been in the news every other week. Mahon added that United Cerebral Palsy of Queens has an extensive driver-training program.
Since 1993, there have been 74 pedestrian fatalities on Queens Boulevard, a thoroughfare that traverses Queens from west to east. The most recent death occurred in April, when a 21-year-old man was hit by a tour bus while jogging along Queens Boulevard near Barnwell Avenue. Before that, in March, an 83-year-old man was hit at 80th Road in Kew Gardens.
Two weeks ago, the city Department of Transportation began installing parking meters along the service roads of Queens Boulevard, between 71st and 77th avenues, in an effort to force drivers to obey the 30 mph speed limit. The meters will permit parking along the service roads, where traffic tends to move at a higher rate of speed, forcing drivers to slow down as they pass the parked vehicles.
Daniel Bentz, manager of The Wine and Spirit Company on Queens Boulevard, said he has overheard many customers complaining about receiving jay-walking tickets, another measure the city is using to prevent accidents. Many pedestrians, he said, do not cross at the intersection because they only have to be mindful of traffic on Queens Boulevard. At crosswalks, he said, they must also watch vehicles turning from side streets.
Its the side streets that are scary, Bentz said. A lot of the old people jay walk in the middle because they only have to look two ways. They dont have to look this way, this way, and behind them and across the street. Thats the problem.
Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2001 Community News Group
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