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Qns. Village student hurt in car accident near PS 18

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A 9-year-old girl was in satisfactory condition Monday at Long Island Jewish Hospital after the car she was traveling in was hit by a man driving a van with a suspended license in front of PS 18 in Queens Village Friday morning, police said.

Police said Atarmesh Lal, 49, of 229-88th Ave. in Queens Village, was arrested on charges of driving with a suspended license after his white van, which was heading eastbound on Hillside Avenue, collided with a four-door blue sedan which was turning left onto 235th Court from Hillside Avenue.

“I have been contacted by the principal of PS 18, Joy Hammer, that today a child is in critical condition as a result of an accident,” state Sen. Frank Padavan wrote in a letter requesting a crossing guard to the Deputy Inspector Michael Bryan, of the 105th Precinct. “Ms. Hammer informs me that this was an accident waiting to happen. They have had trouble with speeding vehicles at this location.”

In a similar letter to Iris Weinshall, commissioner of the city Department of Transportation, Padavan wrote that the principal said in a phone call after the accident that the timing of the traffic light at the Hillside Avenue and 235th Court Street interchange should be changed to slow down cars passing the school.

The intersection with PS 18 on the corner has always posed hazards because Hillside is a busy street, he said.

The street adjacent to the school — 235th Court between Hillside Avenue and 87th Avenue — was scheduled to have speed bumps installed before the accident occurred, but the DOT had not been able to move forward because it was awaiting approval from Community Board 13.

The Department of Transportation approved the speed bumps July 27, but because Board 13 had not yet received the notification, the subject was not discussed at a July 22 special assembly of CB 13, which does not hold summer meetings.

Richard Hellenbrecht, chairman of CB 13, said he had no doubt that Board 13 would approve the speed bumps at its Sept. 23 meeting.

He said he was looking into ways of getting approval for the speed bumps before the meeting because he wanted the DOT to be able to begin work at once.

Later he said, “I did talk to several of the civic association leaders in the area and based on a letter from Padavan and state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Bayside), I have notified DOT and Queens Borough Commissioner Joseph Cannisi and told them that we support the immediate installation of the speed bumps on 235th Court.”

Lisi de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, said the DOT was studying the timing on the traffic light because of the added traffic caused by the new homes on the Creedmoor campus.

She said the DOT crews usually install the speed bumps in January, February and March because that is when workers are not fixing the roads and have more time.

wReach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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