A collision between two luxury sedans in Forest Hills Tuesday morning that left two people dead and one injured and charged with manslaughter was a major accident waiting to happen, according to nearby homeowners.
A black Mercedes-Benz was traveling southbound on the Grand Central Parkway service road around 5:40 a.m. when it ran a red light and struck a silver Acura that had a green light and was traveling westbound at the intersection of 69th Road, police said.
The Acura's passengers, husband and wife Ki and Kyekyung Kim of Kew Gardens, were pronounced dead at the scene by EMS crews, while the driver of the Mercedes, Jacob Chubashvili, 17, of Forest Hills, was rushed to Jamaica Hospital with head and neck injuries, according to police.
Kyekyung Kim, 52, was a manager at the city's Administration for Children's Services, where she had worked since 1996.
Police said they arrested Chubashvili and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown indicted him on two counts of manslaughter, driving without a licence and other charges.
The silver sedan was struck so hard that it broke into several pieces that were scattered throughout the street.
"We were sleeping when it happened and the three of us jumped up because we heard such a loud crash," said Lynn Petukhov, who lives in a house located right in front of where the accident took place.
Petukhov and her neighbors said the intersection has been prone to many collisions in the past, most being slight fender-benders and minor accidents.
The intersection, which leads drivers to entrances of the Grand Central Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway, has a traffic light and sign that warns motorists of the 30 mile per hour speed limit posted on a pole on the west side of the GCP service road.
Residents say those safety precautions are moot because of the large amount of greenery that grows near the intersection, blocking a driver's view.
"It's a dead zone over here," said Lynn Petukhov's husband, Sergei Petukhov, 38. "People don't realize there is another street when they come down [the service road]."
Sergei Petukhov said he has seen at least one accident a week occur in front of his house since he moved in six years ago and has become very concerned for the safety of his family.
"I never let my children play on the front lawn, and after this, I will never walk my dog over there," he said.
Richard Hauser, who lives down the block on 68th Road, said he has been calling the city and city Department of Transportation for years to come and fix the problem, but has not seen anyone come out for an inspection.
A spokesman for the DOT said that besides Tuesday's incident, there was only one other accident reported at the location in the last five years, which was not fatal.
Hauser added that the city was not the only one to blame for the crashes. He said he frequently sees speeding cars zip by the service road and put everyone in danger.
"Their mind-set is fast and I don't think they see the light," Hauser said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2008 Community News Group
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