Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MARCH MADNESS for drivers

By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 27- The warm weather hasn't even begun, but March Madness is underway along the borough's roadways.

A head-on crash outside a firehouse along Webster Avenue has claimed the life of one man and two others are reported to be in critical condition. The fatal crash, which took place on the first day of spring, was the third vehicular death along Bronx roads in just 19 days.

Police were called to Webster Avenue and E. 187 Street in the Fordham Heights section, at just after 4 p.m., on March 20. After a preliminary investigation police say a black 1993 Honda was traveling north on Webster Avenue, when it swerved into oncoming traffic and struck a 2010 Nissan Altima that was traveling southbound.

The horrific collision took place outside the quarters of the FDNY's  Engine 48 / Ladder 56. Members were at the carnage in seconds, but lost precious time as at least three of the victims were heavenly encased in the twisted metal.

Police say the 23-year-old driver of the Honda was declared dead on arrival at St. Barnabas Hospital. The name of the victim was not released pending notification of next of kin.

Two passengers pulled from the Honda were also rushed to St. Barnabas, where one remains in critical condition and the other is classified as stable.

The driver and passenger of the Nissan were also reported at St. Barnabas and also in stable condition.

The busy block surrounded by residential buildings, retail shops and schools is no stranger to roadway death, back in August, 2008 traffic agent Donnette Sanz, 33, who was seven-months pregnant, was mowed-down by an out-of-control van at the opposite end of the block on E. 188 Street.

The entire city took notice as several dozen residents and passersby would lift the 3-ton van off of Sanz. Sadly, Sanz would hang on just long enough to give birth and the premature child survived just a few days.

Van driver Walter Walker, 72, had 20 suspensions on his driver's license at the time of the crash. He was convicted after a jury trial and on October 28, 2010 Walker was convicted of two counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide. Walker was later sentenced to four-year's in jail, the maximum sentence allowed by law.

The fatal crash outside of Engine 48 / Ladder 56 is not the first fatal crash this month on the street's of the Bronx-- but the third in less than three weeks.

On March 2, grandfather Nelson Martinez, 61, was mowed-down along the Grand Concourse at Field Place by a hit-and-run driver. Martinez remained in intensive care at St. Barnabas Hospital until he succumbed to his injuries on March 17.

Police continue to look for the light or gray-colored sedan that fled southbound along the Concourse.

Ironically on March 17, 63-year-old nail salon worker and Bedford Park resident Sook-Ja Kim was hit from behind as she walked along a pedestrian path along E. Mosholu Parkway.

Witnesses stated that the out-of-control vehicle first drove into on-coming traffic before attempting to cross over a large patch of grass separating the two roadways, before striking Kim from behind. Kim later died at St. Barnabas.

After a preliminary investigation by the NYPD's Accident Investigation Squad, the unidentified driver apparently had some type of medical issue at the time of the crash and no charges have been filed, but the investigation is still on-going.

As this reporter was traveling north on Webster to the crash outside Engine 48 / Ladder 56, a police car from the 48th Precinct was following a man on an illegal dirt-bike. The biker and patrol car now in pursuit, sped past everyone waiting for the light and dangerously turned into oncoming traffic at E. Tremont Avenue.

The brazen motorcyclist and at least three NYPD vehicles played a deadly cat-and-mouse game up E. Tremont and back down Carter Avenue. It's not known if the NYPD ever caught the reckless biker, but it's safe to say the biker was unaware of the traffic death that had just taken place a half-mile up the road.

Norwood resident Marcelino Hernandez, who witnessed the crash that claimed Kim's life, reflected from that scene, saying, "These driver's today just don't respect life."

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