Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and State Senator Andrew Gounardes joined activists today to address the most recent spate of fatalities caused by drivers, and to decry the death of a three-month-old baby girl who was killed by a driver going the wrong way on Saturday.
“Just two weeks ago, we mourned Tamy Guahiac, a six-year-old girl killed by a reckless driver in Dyker Heights. Now, we are mourning a baby who was cruelly taken from us by yet another reckless driver. I am tired of the endless stream of vigils,” Adams said at a press conference convened at the corner of Gates Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue in Clinton Hill. “I am tired of trying to comfort parents experiencing the worst grief imaginable. I am tired of seeing families torn apart by the epidemic of traffic violence. Increasing enforcement on reckless driving is important, but that alone will not change driver behavior. We need a holistic re-thinking of our streetscape to stop this carnage, and deter the kind of reckless action we saw on this street the other night.”
On Saturday, just after 6 p.m., police say the driver of a 2017 Honda Civic was going eastbound on Gates—which is a westbound street—and struck a 2020 Honda Civic going north on Vanderbilt Avenue. The collision sent the cars into a 36-year-old man and 33-year-old woman who were walking and pushing a stroller with a baby. The baby, identified as Apolline Mong-Guillemin, was pronounced dead at Brooklyn Hospital, where the man was taken in stable condition. The female pedestrian was taken to New York-Presbyterian Methodist Hospital in serious condition.
The 49-year-old female driver of the 2020 Honda was taken to New York-Presbyterian Methodist Hospital in stable condition, while the driver of the wrong-way 2017 Honda fled the scene and reportedly was trying to steal another car on Atlantic Avenue when police found him.
“Police sources say officers in the area spotted the car driving erratically and made a U-turn in pursuit, but quickly lost the driver,” who soon after took a wrong turn down Gates where the collision occurred, according to NBC New York.
Tyrik Mott, 28, was arraigned on charges including attempted robbery, grand larceny, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, and attempted unauthorized use of a vehicle, and may face more. Prosecutors said that when he was arrested, he asked the police if he could just get a ticket.
The 2017 Honda has over 91 speeding tickets in schools zones associated with it, as reporter Liam Quigley pointed out.
Anna Koval’s nine-year-old son Lucian Merryweather was killed by a driver who was going the wrong way in 2013, near Saturday’s crash site. She also spoke at Monday’s event, calling the tragedy “every parent’s worst nightmare,” and recalled: “In fall 2013, I was standing on the sidewalk in Clinton Hill with my two sons, Lucian and Theo, just blocks from the site of this weekend’s crash when a reckless driver mowed us down on the sidewalk. Lucian was killed instantly. I could not leave the house for months, and I did not speak at his vigil. But now I am raising my voice because I am sick that more children are being killed by preventable traffic violence. These horrific deaths and injuries are preventable. No more promises. We need action on Vision Zero now.”
Transportation Alternatives says that the total number of people killed in traffic incidents in 2021 is now 188, about 30% over last year and on pace to be the deadliest year since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office with his Vision Zero plan to bring traffic deaths to zero by 2024.
READ MORE: Who Will Be The Next Vision Zero Mayor?
Adams, Transportation Alternatives, and others proposed measures that they say the city, as well as the state, should immediately act upon:
Here’s how we make our streets safer:
✅ Expedite street redesigns
✅ Double down on #VisionZero with more proactive measures
✅ Implement the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program
✅ Pass Sammy’s Law
✅ Let speed cameras operate 24/7
✅ Adopt the 25×25 program by @TransAlt
— Eric Adams (@BKBoroHall) September 13, 2021