Deadly week for NYC pedestrians and cyclists as five die in traffic collisions

Two pedestrians were struck in separate incidents in Astoria on Friday, during a deadly week where five people died in traffic collisions.

Around 10 pm, Karina Larino, 38, was crossing 21st Street near Astoria Park South when the driver of a Honda Element SUV turned onto 21st Street and struck her, police said. Larino was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The driver, a 78-year-old woman, remained at the scene and was not injured, police said.

Larino had worked for the MTA’s Bus Company division since 2005. “Everyone at the MTA is heartbroken to learn of the loss of our colleague, LaGuardia Depot Cleaner/Helper Karina Larino,” said Frank Annicaro, acting president of the MTA Bus Company and senior vice president of the New York City Transit Department of Buses, in a statement. “Our hearts go out to her family from Ella at this tremendously difficult time.”

Another pedestrian was injured in a collision around 3:38 am Friday, when a man trying to cross 33rd Street near 31st Avenue was struck by a black sedan in a hit-and-run. The unnamed victim was found lying in the road with head and body trauma and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition. Police said the driver of the black sedan fled the scene, and the investigation was ongoing.

Traffic deaths in New York City have emerged to their highest level since former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero street safety campaign launched in 2014.

“It’s very clear that there is a crisis on our streets, and there needs to be urgent action,” said Cory Epstein, spokesperson for the Transportation Alternatives street safety advocacy group.

Elsewhere on Friday, a 55-year-old man on an e-bike was killed when he flew off his bike into the path of an oncoming van in South Park Slope. Peter Costello was biking north on Fourth Avenue around 1:14 pm when “he locked up the brakes of the e-bike,” according to police. He was thrown into the path of a 2006 Ford Econoline van heading south on Fourth Avenue at 21st Street.

Costello was taken to Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the van remained at the scene, and no arrests were made.

Then on Saturday morning, another person was struck by the driver of a box truck that was backing up on the Clearview Expressway’s ramp to the Grand Central Parkway, NYPD said.

The man was assisting the truck driver in backing up when he was struck, police said. The man was taken to North Shore Hospital in critical condition, police said. There was no further information immediately available about the name of the truck company or the identities of the victim or driver.

Large trucks are prohibited on the Grand Central Parkway.

Those incidents all happened in the wake of an especially deadly week on New York roads. On Thursday, a 35-year-old bicyclist named Eric Salitsky was struck and killed by the driver of a private garbage truck in a hit-and-run near 39th Street and Ninth Avenue in Sunset Park. Police said the truck driver may not have been aware that he struck Salitsky, and “was located a short time after the collision and was issued multiple summonses.”

On Wednesday morning, 16-year-old Alissa Kolenovic was reportedly on her way to school when she was struck and killed by the driver of a beverage truck near Paulding Avenue at Neill Avenue in Morris Park. The truck driver, Joseph Zillitto, Jr., was arrested and charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to use due care.

On Monday, 21-year-old Raife Milligan, a NYU student, was struck and killed by the driver of a Chevy Camaro on East Houston near First Avenue. The Camaro driver, Michael Deguzman, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and driving while impaired by alcohol.

“There’s many steps that need to be taken to save lives on our streets – most important is redesigning streets for safety,” Transportation Alternatives spokesperson Epstein said. “That includes identifying the most dangerous, crash-prone intersections and corridors in every borough, making investments, pushing through these investments and redesigning them for safety without delay.”

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