Truck Driver Arrested After Striking & Killing 71-Year-Old Man in Brooklyn

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

A truck driver has been arrested for failure to yield and failure to exercise due care after striking and killing a 71-year-old man in a crosswalk at the corner of McDonald Ave. and Cortelyou Road in Kensington, Brooklyn on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018.

It was just before 7 a.m. when 54-year-old Gilbert Demello turned his tractor-trailer onto McDonald Ave., striking the victim within a crosswalk and dragging him more than 20 feet, leaving him trapped under the vehicle.

“He was trying to cross faster than the truck,” witness Pagan told the NY Daily News. “He was trying to beat the truck and he tripped.”

The 71-year-old victim, a Jewish man named Pinchos Kreiner, was tragically pronounced dead at the scene. Volunteers from Misakim, a Jewish emergency response force, were called so that Mr. Kreiner could be buried in accordance with Jewish religious law.

“According to Jewish law, all blood of the person who’s killed has to be buried together with the body,” volunteer Hershel Rosenbaum told the NY Daily News. “We make sure all the blood is taken up.”

The driver of the truck, Mr. Demello, stayed on the scene but refused to talk to reporters. At the time of the accident, he was hauling bricks that he had just picked up from Kings Material, a Brooklyn-based masonry shop. Mr. Demello’s employer, whose name has not yet been released, is reportedly cooperating with investigators.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Kreiner, his friends and family, and the entire community which has been affected by this tragedy.

Pedestrian traffic deaths are far too common in New York City. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that, in 2016, 59.6% of traffic fatalities were pedestrians, easily the highest ratio of pedestrian fatalities of any American city.

This trend has sadly continued into 2018. On November 16th, 81-year-old Gloria Prietto lost her life when she was struck and killed by a dump truck in Long Island. A month earlier, Alberto Leal of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, lost his life while walking within a crosswalk after being struck by a garbage truck which was driving the wrong way down a one-way road.

In response to the disturbing rate at which New York pedestrians lose their lives in senseless and preventable traffic accidents, Mayor Bill de Blasio launched Vision Zero in early 2014 with the goal of completely ending traffic deaths, noting that “the deadly toll is highest for pedestrians-especially our children and seniors.”

While it seems progress is being made after New York City recorded the fewest traffic fatalities on record in 2017, even one death is too many. Mr. Kreiner was simply going about his business, reportedly on his way home from a religious ceremony, walking within a crosswalk and following the law. Sadly, these types of accidents are the norm, as Vision Zero statistics indicate that 70% of pedestrian fatalities are caused by dangerous driver decisions.

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law 1151 states that drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians walking within a crosswalk. When drivers ignore this law, the results can be disastrous, and pedestrians can pay the price with their lives.

If you or someone you love have been injured in a devastating traffic accident, the experienced truck accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Results that we have won for victims of truck collisions include:

  • $14,000,000 verdict for a motorcyclist who was struck by a truck at an intersection in Long Island
  • $6,000,000 settlement for a bus passenger injured in a collision with a truck in Brooklyn
  • $5,000,000 settlement after a mother of four was tragically killed by a garbage truck while she walked on a sidewalk in Manhattan

To receive a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form. Serving Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, the Bronx, upstate New York and New Jersey.


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