Nostrand Ave and Ave W. (Source: Google Maps)

Nostrand Ave and Ave W. (Source: Google Maps)

I get it. New York City is a massive place with millions of people and drivers, so accidents are bound to happen. Still, it is upsetting to continually read about weekend car accidents that keep sending people to the hospital, sometimes killing them, especially when three accidents occur within a span of 90 minutes, sending four to hospitals across the city.

The New York Daily News reported on an accident that took place here in Sheepshead Bay this past Saturday night:

In the first incident, in Sheepshead Bay, a 43-year-old man was hit while crossing the intersection of Nostrand Ave. and Ave. W shortly after 10 p.m., authorities said. The man was unconscious when he was rushed by ambulance to Coney Island Hospital.

I write about these crashes all the time so perhaps my view on accidents, reckless driving and drunk driving is a bit jaded. I know that many accidents are just that and no one is really at fault. Still, is it possible for all motorists to take three seconds before they turn the keys of their automobiles and realize they are about to go hurtling through our city streets in 4,000-pound machines? Is it possible to just spend a moment contemplating your responsibility as a motorist to drive safely before you ruin your life and the lives of others when taking to the road?

I understand that there are a lot of pedestrians who jaywalk, especially on that stretch of Nostrand Avenue, and bicyclists who dart dangerously in front of traffic. But, still, those people aren’t behind the wheels of machines that could break every bone in your body and liquefy your internal organs. Maybe if we all took some time to realize the reality of operating a fast moving vehicle before we jet off to our jobs, next party, or mundane task, there might just be a few less accidents and a few more lives saved.

(UPDATE 1:20 p.m.):  The Daily News is reporting that the 43-year-old victim’s name was Jose Santiago and that he has died of his injuries at Coney Island Hospital. According to a poster on our Facebook page, the person who hit Santiago was allegedly talking on their phone at the time of the incident. Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Santiago.

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  • yogi

    i think you meant to say “by car” and not “bay car in the title of this article.

    • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

      Correct. Thanks, we fixed it.

  • BrooklynBus

    I also believe that many accidents are not properly investigated and sometimes charges should be filed and there are not. As you say there are also just accidents. However, in this case the Daily News provides zero information how the accident occurred. The man could have just stepped in front of the car without looking, a possibility. But you immediately suspect the driver (reckless or drunk driving) He also could have been speeding. Or he could have done nothing wrong. But you don’t dare to suggest the pedestrian coud have been completely at fault which is also a possibility. We shouldn’t jump to any conclusions until we have the facts.

    • Local Resident

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/nyregion/police-unit-taking-closer-look-at-deadly-crashes.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      There’s a special unit in NYPD that responds to deadly car accidents. What’s surprising is that it took NYPD so many years to create one. In most civilized countries policemen are trained how to investigate and file collisions. In NY, collision form is usually filled in as an afterthought after cops show up at the scene 3-4 hours later.

      • ShadowLock

        Truth.

    • Andrew

      No, he does not immediately suspect the driver. He makes it very clear that he’s not assigning blame.

      I am going to take the liberty of quoting the most salient paragraph-and-a-half of the article, which I think bears repeating:

      Still, is it possible for all motorists to take three seconds before they turn the keys of their automobiles and realize they are about to go hurtling through our city streets in 4,000-pound machines? Is it possible to just spend a moment contemplating your responsibility as a motorist to drive safely before you ruin your life and the lives of others when taking to the road?

      I understand that there are a lot of pedestrians who jaywalk, especially on that stretch of Nostrand Avenue, and bicyclists who dart dangerously in front of traffic. But, still, those people aren’t behind the wheels of machines that could break every bone in your body and liquefy your internal organs. Maybe if we all took some time to realize the reality of operating a fast moving vehicle before we jet off to our jobs, next party, or mundane task, there might just be a few less accidents and a few more lives saved.

      Think about it.

      Since we haven’t seen many facts, I guess I’ll be left to wonder whether speed (over 30 mph) or a failure to yield while turning played a role in Jose Santiago’s death. Whether or not they played a role in Mr. Santiago’s death, they have been responsible for the deaths of many other New Yorkers. Anybody who advocates driving over 30 mph on a city street or turning without yielding to pedestrians should think about this.

      • Subway Stinker

        I find the intersection in question, Nostrand and W to be dimly lit at night and that many pedestrians at night tend to cross the streets between W and X on Nostrand in the middle of the block, at night, and almost always wearing dark clothes. Just my observations.

        • Andrew

          All the more reason to slow down a bit and be especially alert when driving in the area.

          This might be a good place for a mid-block signalized crosswalk. (I’d propose an unsignalized crosswalk if I had any faith that drivers would watch and prepare to stop for pedestrians using it, but I don’t. I don’t think most drivers are in the slightest bit aware that they are legally required to stop for pedestrians in unsignalized crosswalks, marked and unmarked alike.)

          • flatbush depot

            “This might be a good place for a mid-block signalized crosswalk.”

            that would slow down the buses even more… -_-

            all the more reason to congestion price the stuffing out of Nostrand Ave and a bunch of other roads where buses run…

  • johnwentworth

    Bunch of animals driving. Look how vehement they are against putting in the cameras. God forbid somebody should stop them from speeding, driving recklessly, going through lights. I drive much, and I walk much, and believe me, the ratio of blame for cars versus pedestrians in near accidents that I see is about ten to one in favor of the autos. Many of these reckless drivers are fat slobs who are racing to get to that couch and have that beer and pizza. Somebody tried to make the claim that there are misbehaving pedestrians crossing Nostrand Avenue between Y and Z. They’re even wrong about that. The fat slob drivers are double-parked in front of the stores getting their 10 pounds of meat at Silver Star. They are too lazy to park RIGHT ACROSS the street in the free lot. So, they are causing even those problems. As a driver, I fear for my vehicle with these animals. As a pedestrian, I fear for my life.

    • BrooklynBus

      I wouldn’t want you on any jury since you have already made up your mind based on past experiences and not on the facts of this incident.

      • Andrew

        As have you.

      • johnwentworth

        First off, I was not addressing this particular incident. Where in my words do you see that? I’m just telling it as it is out there, as an honest driver and pedestrian. The driving is so ridiculous it looks comedic if it wasn’t so dangerous. Reckless driving is so prevalent that most people have probably become so accustomed to it that “this is the way it is”. It’s become the new norm, and when something becomes the new norm, it’s very difficult to reverse. Something has got to be done.

  • Local Resident

    I feel like NYPD gave up on Sheepshead area all together
    when it comes to traffic laws enforcement. I walk at least 20 blocks a day in
    the area, I also happen to drive on daily basis and cycle on weekends.
    As a pedestrian, it’s a routine task to dodge the cars that
    completely ignore stop signs and simply choose to roll through them, in many
    cases at high speed . That’s about only complain I have, but it’s reaching
    epidemic proportions in the area.

    As a driver, it’s worse than zombie-survival movie other
    there. EVERY single traffic law is ignored: speeding cars, running on red light
    (I see it on daily basis), driving against traffic (to pass double parked cars)
    at VERY high speed, not stopping on stop signs and of course random acts of
    stupidity (going against traffic on one way streets, making u-turns on highly
    congested narrow streets, etc). One of the
    major complaints are double-parked cars and buses near car service bases, deli
    stores and Yeshivas. In many cases an entire block can be blocked by double
    parked vehicles for hours, creating major bottlenecks and dangerous conditions
    (try and pass 4 double parked buses on avenue Z, you have to go against traffic
    for nearly a block). What’s disturbing is that cops completely ignore this. They
    would rather “fish” for speeding cars on belt.

    As a cyclist, just keep your eyes open, all of the things
    described above don’t make it easy.

    • arniethek

      How about motorists who while turning refuse to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk? I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to scamper out of the path of a turning vehicle bearing down on me. Defensive and courteous driving are things of the past.

      • Andrew

        Agreed 100%. Too bad one prominent poster here advocates drivers forcing their way through pedestrians.

        • bruce b

          It’s very difficult to get across the street at this point when cars are making their right turns. They try to outrace you, or, instead of stopping, make the very wide right in front of you, or go behind you like an inch away. It’s really scary. And I’m still quite mobile for my age.

          Somebody brought up allowing right on red. The other day I got an example of what that would do. On Cropsey Ave going north, there is a right on red onto Shore Parkway (in front of that diner). The light’s been red for 3 seconds, I get there and begin to cross. A car is coming. He does slow up a decent amount, but keeps coming. Honks his horn twice. I’m not willing to risk my life defending my right of way. So I back up to the sidewalk. As the car goes by, the passenger yells something at me. The window was up so I couldn’t hear it, but judging from his face, it wasn’t pleasant.

          They have right on red from Neptune going east onto Cass Place. Try crossing Cass when there’s a lineup of cars making that right. Ain’t going to happen!

          Right on red, and you may not be able to cross a street any longer!

          • nyckat

            Same thing at Cass and Shore Bvd we have a lot of elderly, as well as school kids trying to get over to Sheepshead bay to sit in the park- you can hardly cross the street if you are able bodied! I was pushing a wheelchair across the street the other day on a walk sign and got screamed at by someone turning on a RED light. Police do NOTHING- as another poster pointed out they have given up on our nabe. I guess they are playing the survival game here and hoping we kill each other off so they don’t have to worry about it!

    • ShadowLock

      most people who run the stop signs if you notice are expensive leased cars, like BMW’s and Mercedes…… sometimes Infinity too

      • flatbush depot

        why does this matter?

        • ShadowLock

          it matters because these people are the reason accidents happen in the first place…….

          It becomes a habit….. till a serious accident happens……

          • flatbush depot

            well all that tells me is that fining people is not enough and that the government should have more power to revoke people’s licenses..especially those who double park their private vehicles for non-emergency reasons on busy roads where frequent bus lines run (like Nostrand, Flatbush, Rogers after the B44 SBS begins, Bedford b/w Dean and Taylor, also after the B44 SBS begins, and Utica).

            this is something I have believed for a long time. extending the license revocation penalty to those who ignore stop signs is also fine by me. but fining people is not enough.

          • guest

            That B44 SBS is going to be a disaster for everybody. Drivers, bus operators, straphangers and pedestrians alike. Very very bad decision made by the MTA in the name of greed.

          • flatbush depot

            keep telling yourself that.

    • M. Smart

      Count how many cars come to a complete stop going down 21st by Z or 27th by Z 21st and Voorhies not much better

    • Andrew

      Unfortunately, it’s the whole city, not just Sheepshead Bay. Ray Kelly, where are you?

      • levp

        When he’s not stopping and frisking, he’s lining up his big promotion.

      • guest

        Ray Kelly is too busy busting young adults for holding very small amounts of marijuana, drinking 20 oz sodas and drinking a beer on the beach. What a joke, just like the entire Bloomberg administration.

  • flatbush depot

    human nature strikes again.

    I think we can agree that most people go nuts (to the point where it often compromises their obedience of the law) upon getting behind the wheel of a car.

    • BrooklynBus

      I think you are going a little too far by using the word “most”. You shoud have said “some” or “many”.

      • flatbush depot

        ok, I suppose I can agree to this.

      • bruce b

        I would phrase it as “too many”. Don’t know how old you are, BB, but in the old days (i.e. pre-Ned Berke) we used to joke about cab drivers being the real bad and reckless drivers because they stood out. Now they don’t even stand out, I don’t even hear the joke anymore.

        • flatbush depot

          I would phrase it as “too many”.

          much better.

        • flatbush depot

          I meant to put ” I would phrase it as “too many”. ” in quotes

    • guest

      No. It is a small fraction. Most people when they get behind the wheel have every intention of getting from point A to point B safely without any incident. Most drivers would like to be able to do so without having to deal with other idiot drivers, idiot cyclists or idiot pedestrians who don’t care about anything but themselves. I will say this though, all these traffic calming measures, lane reductions and out of sync lights are definitely going to insight road rage in some. It’s not the proper solution. Someone causes an accident, you suspend their license. You hit someone while drunk and/or incite a hit and run, you can NEVER drive again anywhere. You send this information to DMVs across the country. If this person tries to reapply for a license a red flag pops up. You keep tabs on their address and you keep tabs on the license plate. You fine them the amount it will cost to at a minimum put them in jail for a week to keep the burden off the taxpayer. Afterwards you put an ankle bracelet on them for a couple of weeks. That would get the message across and keep idiots off the road. If a pedestrian is not paying attention and is the cause you take away whatever distracting device they had on them at the time. If a cyclist is the reason for an accident, you take away their bike, force them to take a defensive driving class, fine them and only then allow them to have their bike back. You also take their name and if they attempt to use a citibike red flag them.

      • flatbush depot

        “…all these traffic calming measures, lane reductions and out of sync lights…”

        …is no excuse for anybody to drive in an unsafe manner. a person who allows frustration to compromise safety does not belong behind the wheel.

        and personally, I find that a lot of drivers who are trying to get from point A to point B drive in an unsafe manner (breaking many laws) b/c they are often in a hurry, leaving just a bit too late and trying to make up the time by speeding and so on.

        the measures you proposed are nice, but easier said than done. good luck if you intend on getting them implemented; let me know if you want help..

        • flatbush depot

          also trying to make up the time by parking illegally..

          • flatbsuh depot

            I mean since they do not want to spend time trying to find legal parking.

        • BrpoklynBus

          I am continually amazed at the drivers I see on the highways constantly weaving in and out of traffic at 20 mph higher than what everyone else is doing. In ten seconds they go from lane 2 to lane 1 to lane 3 back to lane 1 and then to lane 2. This is no exaggeration. Each time it looks like they come within a foot of each car they pass in front and in back. I do not know how they manage not to hit any cars. All it takes is one of those cars to speed up or slow down a little and there will be an accident. They are absolutely crazy to cut it so close. They think they are playing a video game.

          • flatbush depot

            very few things amaze me anymore. this kind of activity does not amaze me. it does suck though, obviously.

    • bananarama

      One of the best things that happened to me as a driver was the progressive snapshot tool (disclaimer: i don’t advertise progressive and have no affiliation with them). Now this tool makes you drive really smoothly for fear of hard stops (and raised insurance rates). I wish these things were made mandatory – if animals at the wheel do not value human life, maybe they’d be more attentive to $ incentive and being monitored every time they turn the ignition key.

      • guest

        The idiots that make it hard for the rest of us probably don’t even have insurance. May not even know what it is.

  • guest

    This is an unfortunate accident. But as others have already stated, many of the facts are missing. There are lots of idiot drivers but there are also lots of safe drivers. You see all on the road. We don’t know the facts to this case. If this was the driver speeding, drunk etc…lock them up, suspend their license and fine them. But if the driver did not do anything wrong it is an unfortuante accident. I walk and I drive. I have personally seen many pedestrians jaywalk and some of them see a car coming and slow down as if they want you to hit them. Others just don’t seem to care. Of course, at the same time there are many drivers who just don’t care and all that matters is getting from A to B as fast as possible. But to lump all drivers in the same pot is ridiculous and that is what are mayor and head of the DOT are doing. This story (from the daily news) is just ripe for biased sites like streetblog and anti-auto groups like transportation alternatives who will automatically accuse the driver and all drivers of being speedy, fat, drunk demons who care nothing for humanity. Yes we are talking 1-2 tons vs roughly 200 pounds. But pedestrians and cyclist need to be alert of their surroundings as well. If the driver is at fault the correct actions should be taken against them. But let us understand what happened first.

    • BrooklynBus

      The voice of reason.

    • bananarama

      excellent point, but in this particular case there is a fatality. none of the pedestrian’s actions warrantied his death. yes, he could have been chewing gum, texting and walking sideways – what killed him was a ton of metal operated by an inadequate driver.

  • Andrew

    Very good article. Thank you for posting it.

    One small but significant quibble: The word “accident” implies that it was unavoidable. A more general term is “crash” or “collision.” Without knowing more about what happened, it’s impossible to know if it was an accident or if one or both parties could have avoided it. True accidents are quite rare: in almost all cases, either the driver or the pedestrian or both could have taken steps to avoid a collision or to reduce its impact.

    If it wasn’t an accident, who was at fault? I don’t know. Perhaps the pedestrian, perhaps the driver, perhaps both.

    If the driver was driving legally (not speeding, not distracted by a cell phone or other device, sober, etc.) and the pedestrian stepped into the street against the light so close to the approaching car that the driver didn’t have a chance to stop or swerve, then it’s hard to pin any of the blame on the driver.

    If, on the flip side, the pedestrian was crossing legally, then there is really no way that the driver wasn’t fully to blame.

    Or perhaps this was an intermediate case, in which the pedestrian wasn’t crossing legally but the driver could have avoided the collision or lessened the impact had she been obeying the speed limit or paying closer attention. In such a case, both parties share the blame.

    If the NYPD had any interest in making the streets safer, they’d be searching for evidence (do any of the adjacent properties have surveillance cameras, for instance?) to try to figure out what happened here and how to avoid it in the future. If the driver was partially or entirely at fault, of course he should be penalized appropriately – otherwise other drivers won’t take these matters seriously. (The pedestrian, whatever fault he shares if any, has already been subject to the death penalty.)

    Ray Kelly, where are you?

    • Willie Simpson

      Thanks for the kind words.

      • BrooklynBus

        Willie, I noticed you said “weekend car accidents”. Do you think the weekend has something to do with it and that there are more accidents or collisions on the weekends?

        • Willie Simpson

          I tried pinning down some numbers but couldn’t find any. From my point of view in just covering these things though, a lot of the deadly crashes seem to happen on weekends. Just an observation. Take it for what it’s worth.

  • Subway Stinker

    This is a badly written opinion piece under the guise of news and the author Simpson should be reprimanded for presenting opinion as fact. Readers, on the other hand, should be encouraged to vent their hostility to bad drivers, the lack of traffic enforcement by the NYPD and the overall condition of being a NY motorist or a NY pedestrian. I think it is fair to say that the more ‘traffic calming’ put in place, and the fewer legal parking spaces allowed by DOT the more frustrated the NY motorist becomes and I think the city’s anti car agenda actually engenders more bad (impatient) driving. Since we all got our drivers licenses, technology in the form of cell phones and texting have added greater risk to operating a car, but the driving and walking public have not absorbed these major shifts in skills technology now requires. The old admonishment “Don’t drink and drive” is almost quaint, now we have to worry about drivers who text and drive. A new challenge for the 21st century.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      This is the “new journalism”, which, in reality, isn’t so new at all any more, having first manifested itself in the 1960s, with the alternative press and the “New York Magazine” style of presenting participatory journalism. The writer’s opinions become part of the storyline.

    • Willie Simpson

      Thank you for your comments.

      If you re-read the article, you’ll notice how I presented some opinions, quite fairly in my view, and I presented the facts. This is a local community blog, not the Associated Press.

      My opinions assigned no blame to any party. I even granted that my frustration with the number of accidents in the city might just be merely a function of my role as a news writer.

      I expressed the sadness I feel when learning of more car crashes/accidents. As a result, I made, in my opinion, a modest plea that drivers in general, take time to allow for a moment of awareness before starting their cars. I also acknowledged the challenges motorists have to deal with.

      Readers are free to reprimand me or criticize my writing style but my editor wouldn’t have published it if he felt that I crossed a line or violated the spirit of the mission of Sheepshead Bites.

    • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

      Willie’s desk is right next to the bathroom, which I just used. Consider him reprimanded.

      Good day.

  • In Your Face

    RIP. Dad was a friend of his, and watched him get hit. I hope that retard driving gets her just desserts.