The epidemic of traffic violence continued wreaking havoc in New York City last week, as car crashes killed two senior citizens in Queens. According to Streetsblog, one victim was a 75-year-old woman backed over by an 85-year-old man driving a Mercedes Benz; the other was a 88-year-old man hit and killed by the 52-year-old driver of a Honda Fit making an illegal left turn. As of the report’s publication, it notes, neither driver had been charged by authorities.
The 75-year-old woman, Georgiana Belfiore, was reportedly walking in a housing complex’s parking lot when she was hit, getting pinned under the vehicle and dying at the scene of the incident. The 88-year-old man, Thomas Soong, was reportedly crossing Northern Boulevard and “likely did not see the car making the illegal turn.” He was brought to a local hospital, where he died.
According to a report by the New York Daily News, Belfiore had lived at the complex for 20-30 years, and the driver of the car that struck her was her boyfriend. “She was a very nice person,” said a neighbor, adding that “She was very outgoing, and the fact she had some surgery didn’t keep her homebound.” The Daily News also reported that Soong, who “lived alone in a three-story building he owned,” volunteered at a local church, helping local residents vote.
As Streetsblog notes, data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that at least 500,000 “backing crashes” occur each year, resulting in approximately 300 annual deaths and 30,000 annual injuries. A driving safety expert told the publication that such crashes are avoidable if only drivers “were more aware of the dangers of driving in reverse” and were trained to mitigate these dangers.