In the City that never sleeps, it seems that more and more frequently drivers are sleeping behind the wheel, causing fatal accidents. Earlier this week, New York City experienced another senseless loss when a garbage truck struck and killed 55-year-old Jodi McGrath as she was crossing the street in Manhattan.
McGrath was crossing First Avenue early Tuesday morning when a private sanitation truck going east on E. 92nd St. made a left turn and hit her, according to law enforcement sources. The unexpected impact knocked the victim to the ground where she remained until emergency personnel arrived at the scene. McGrath was rushed to New York Presbyterian Cornell Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where doctors and medical professionals attempted to stave off death. Tragically, she was pronounced dead later that morning at the hospital. The details of what specific injuries caused Jodi McGrath to pass have not been released.
The Collision Investigation Squad of the NYPD has begun an investigation into the circumstances of the crash. One of the important factors in their investigation will be the location of McGrath, a pedestrian, in the street. There is a crosswalk at the intersection but the investigation has not yet concluded whether or not McGrath was within it as she was attempting to cross the Street. She was at the very least within a step of the crosswalk based on some of the forensic evidence.
The sanitation truck driver was issued a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian. This makes it likely that the police department believes that the victim was within the crosswalk at the time of the impact. It also begs the question, what was the driver doing at the time of this crash? There was no traffic; nor were there any visual impediments that prevented him from seeing the victim. If he was actually looking there is no excuse for him failing to observe her and take evasive action.
This crash represents another fatal collision after New York’s “Vision Zero” initiative. The well-chronicled plan, orchestrated by Mayor de Blasio, projected that fatal accidents would be drastically reduced and ultimately eliminated. The plan was well intended but the results have been mixed, at best. New York City continues to experience a. Where fatal crashes have become common and far exceed years past. We need to do better. Some have forcefully advocated for criminal prosecution of drivers who fail to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian. Recent laws have given law enforcement the ability to charge drivers for accidents where they strike a pedestrian after not affording the pedestrian the right-of-way. Many have challenged whether this law will actually promote safety. Others have argued that its giving cops and prosecutors the authority to read the minds of drivers and potentially putting non-criminals in jail. It is not clear whether the driver in this collision will be charged.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm that has a long and impressive track record for helping serious accident victims. The firm has recovered nearly $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. You can learn about the firm more by continuing to review our website or by contacting us at 212.736-5300.