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Gianaris calls for safety review after fatal Steinway Creek plunge

City Department of Transportation workers install a concrete barrier near Steinway Creek. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
TimesLedger Newspapers

A state lawmaker is asking the city’s Department of Transportation to review safety measures on roads leading up to bodies of water two days after four East Elmhurst residents were killed when the car they were riding in plunged into the Steinway Creek, police said.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), who lives several blocks from the accident site at 19th Avenue and 37th Street, said that the tragedy raised questions about the strength of a chain-link fence meant to serve as a barrier between the roadway and the creek and said there was a lack of proper signage about the dead-end.

“As our community deals with this tragic accident, we must work together to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future,” Gianaris said. “DOT must make our streets safer by reviewing all roads leading to waterways as there may be similar dangers in other neighborhoods throughout our city.”

A spokesman for the DOT said the agency will review Gianaris’ request.

The New York Post reported that a metal guardrail which had separated the street from the water apparently collapsed long ago.

The DOT spokesman said the agency is looking into a section of the guardrail reported to be missing, but a preliminary review showed no recent complaints about the barrier or requests for traffic controls and additional signage in the immediate area.

Two dead-end signs had already been in place on both sides of the street at 37th Avenue and 19th Street, which leads to the creek, and workers installed jersey barriers and barrels Saturday and replaced the “end” sign at the conclusion of the roadway, the spokesman said.

The car’s four passengers - Darius Fletcher, 21; Crystal Gravely, 19; Jaleel Feurtado, 20; and Jada Monique Butts, 19 - died when the Honda they were riding in struck a curb and careened into the murky waterway just after 10:30 p.m. Friday, police said.

“The car was actually flipped on its roof. The roof was on the bottom of the creek,” FDNY Batalion Chief James Jacobs said several hours after the accident.

The vehicle’s driver escaped from the auto and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition, the NYPD said.

The driver, who investigators said did not have alcohol or drugs in his system, allegedly told authorities the car was going about 60 mph before it flipped into the creek, the Post reported.

The accident site is in an industrial section of Astoria and about a block from the famed Steinway & Sons Piano Factory.

Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at timesledgerphotos@gmail.com by phone at 718-260-4589.

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Reader Feedback

Red the garbage man from Whitestone says:
What a scmuck ! Close the barn door after the horses run out.
April 7, 6:54 am
Red the garbage man from Whitestone says:
Just think : Those kids would still be alive if they weren't looking for a quiet spot to do something illegal ! If you're gonna smoke weed do it wherever ! You're not going to get locked up and do hard time !
April 7, 6:57 am
Chris Washington from Bed Stuy says:
No signage or concrete barrier will stand in the way of an idiot driver killing himself and others. Time to get some more speed cameras on the streets. Parents, you'll at least be warned before losing your teenager when you start getting those $50 tickets in the mail.
April 7, 10:17 am

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