Three people were killed in separate hit-and-run incidents this week, as New York City continues to grapple with a growing number of traffic deaths.
In the East Village, a driver struck 24-year-old Borkot Ullah as he was crossing Houston Street on an e-bike shortly after 11 p.m on Thursday. The motorist did not stop, and Ullah was transported to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Less than two hours later, a 67-year-old woman was struck in Middle Village, Queens by a sedan driver. The victim, Caroline Connors, was then hit a second time by an MTA bus driver, police said. Both drivers continued without stopping.
On Wednesday night, another pedestrian — whose name has not been released by police — was found dead in the roadway in Rockaway Parkway and Lenox Road in East Flatbush. Police believe he was struck by a driver in a white BMW, who fled the scene.
No arrests have been made in any of the cases.
The deadly incidents come amid a spike in fatalities on New York City streets. At least 131 people have died in crashes so far this year, the highest total to-date since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014.
City officials have attributed the growing death toll to a nationwide increase in reckless drivers, who took advantage of empty streets at the height of the pandemic, and have kept up the deadly habit.
An increase in hit-and-run incidents, however, dates back to before the pandemic. According to Transportation Alternatives, there were 36,000 hit-and-run incidents in 2013, compared to an average of 45,000 in the last three years.
Police data shows that drivers are arrested in less than 1% of those cases. The rate is higher in crashes that cause death or serious injury, but well below 50%, according to the NYPD’s most recent data. In the first three months of this year, there were 23 hit-and-run crashes that caused critical injuries, leading to a total of seven arrests.
Daniel Flanzig, an attorney who frequently represents cyclists and pedestrians, accused the department of routinely letting drivers off the hook.
“It sends a message to the person who did it that, ‘Hey, I just got away with it, I’ll get away with it again,'” Flanzig said. “There are victims who want justice, and without a proper investigation that’s being stolen from them.”
Inquiries to the NYPD and the Mayor’s Office were not returned.