Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash
Sep 13, 2021
Locals outraged after an avoidable infant death by reckless driver
A man has been charged after killing a 3-month-old and injuring others—a death safety activists say was wholly preventable
A three-month-old baby is dead and three people are injured following a tragic hit-and-run accident in Clinton Hill on Saturday night, sparking outrage in the community over poor infrastructure.
Around 6:20 p.m. on September 11, Crown Heights resident Tyrik Mott allegedly drove the wrong way on Gates Avenue heading east and T-boned another driver heading north on Vanderbilt. According to police, both vehicles barrelled onto the sidewalk and hit an infant in a stroller, her 33-year-old mother, and a 36-year old man.
The baby was rushed to Brooklyn Hospital by paramedics but could not be saved. The infant’s mother was brought to Methodist Hospital and remains in serious condition after sustaining severe trauma. Both the second driver and the male victim were taken to local hospitals in stable condition.
After attempting to flee the scene and steal another car, Mott was arrested on charges of attempted robbery, grand larceny, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, and attempted unauthorized use of a vehicle.
The 28-year-old suspect was driving a 2017 Honda registered in Pennsylvania. The reckless driver has been caught speeding in school zones a staggering 91 times, according to the New York Post. Automated cameras have also caught Mott running 14 red lights since 2017. In total, the driver has amassed over 160 traffic violations, and it is unclear why Mott was still allowed on the road.
Activists are calling the death avoidable and are blaming both the Department of Transportation and unsafe street design for the crash.
A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said that an investigation was underway into Mott’s recklessness. But the Mott hit-an-run was no isolated incident. The fatal crash capped off a weekend in which a total of six people were killed in crashes and at least five others were injured in the city, according to ABC News.
“The tragic crash at Gates and Vanderbilt contains all the elements of NYC’s dysfunctional and depraved car culture and shows the many failures of Vision Zero, enforcement, parking policy, design… you name it,” safe street advocate Doug Gordon wrote in a Twitter thread over the weekend.
91 tickets by camera.
Zero by NYPD
NYPD should be removed from traffic enforcement and its budget cut.https://t.co/T8UlsR76jb
— John Tomlinson (@johntomlinson) September 12, 2021
“Given the ‘wrong-way’ driving that is reported, the driver must have careened off Fulton and sped up the slip lane, as that’s the only one-way leg of this intersection,” wrote Mike Lydon, the co-founder of urban planning firm Street Plans, in a tweet. “The City recently rebuilt the triangle and presumably kept it open to traffic to preserve *six* parking spots.”
Transportation Alternatives, a local nonprofit that advocates for safer walking and public transit, is calling for immediate action following the deadly car accident. TA reports that traffic violence in 2021 has already claimed the lives of 188 New Yorkers.
“In his remaining months in office, Mayor de Blasio must fight back concretely against this wave of traffic violence and hit-and-runs with street redesigns that prevent reckless drivers from causing tragedy in the first place,” says Danny Harris, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director, in a statement.
“The mayor has tried to make roadways safer with protected infrastructure for cyclists, but the pace is grindingly slow,” writes Gersh Kuntzman in Streetsblog NYC. “Car-free streets are virtually non-existent, despite decades of experience in Europe with large urban areas that are off-limits to drivers.”
As of this writing on Monday community members were holding a rally at the site of the incident demanding street safety improvements.
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