10-year-old Patience Albert was walking to school with her brother on the morning of Tuesday, February 25, 2020 when tragedy struck. As she stepped into the crosswalk at the intersection of Crescent Street and Wortman Avenue in the East New York area of Brooklyn, she was hit by a school bus making a right turn.
Although medics quickly arrived and transported Patience to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, she could not be saved. Even worse, her parents were nearby at the time of the accident, and arrived at the scene, panicked and hysterical, when they saw emergency personnel at the corner. Patience’s 15-year-old brother, who injured his leg as a result of the accident, sat stunned in an ambulance. No family should ever have to see their loved ones, especially young children, in such terrible circumstances.
The driver of the school bus, who has been identified as 61-year-old Pedro Colon, remained at the scene. He was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care. According to a spokesman from the Department of Education, Colon has been suspended from driving until the outcome of the accident investigation. No children were on the bus he was driving at the time of the accident. Police had to hold Patience’s understandably distraught father back as he tried to confront Colon at the scene.
Patience is the fourth pedestrian to die on New York City streets since this past Sunday, February 23, and is one of more than 20 pedestrians that have been killed this year. How many more innocent lives will be lost due to senseless mistakes by careless drivers? Clearly, something needs to change. Danny Harris, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said, “At present, New York City has built and continues to invest in a transportation system that prioritizes moving traffic instead of protecting human life…Mayor de Blasio says he wants to save our city, but he will fail if he is unable to protect the most vulnerable among us.”
Residents who live in the area said that the intersection where the accident occurred is notoriously dangerous. There are no traffic lights, only stop signs, which the residents claim are often ignored by vehicles as they fly through the intersection, especially during morning rush hour. A neighbor, Emily Garcia, said that a crossing guard was supposed to be put at that intersection. City Council member Inez Barron said that now, they will make putting a crossing guard there a priority. It’s a shame that something so awful had to happen for our elected officials to pay attention and act.
Our hearts ache for Patience’s family; they are in our thoughts in the aftermath of such a tragedy.
According to the Vision Zero website, being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City, has been in effect since 2014. Although it initially reduced traffic deaths to their lowest level in a century, last year the number of deaths rose to 221 from approximately 203 in 2018. Efforts must continue to be made to keep children safe on the streets of New York; no child-or any pedestrian, for that matter-should have to worry that they are sacrificing their safety each time they walk outside.
We at Block O’Toole & Murphy hope tragedies like this one never happen. But if they do, we may be able to help you make a claim for the wrongs that have been done to you or your family due to someone else’s negligence. We have extensive experience handling pedestrian accident cases, including those that involve school buses. A few of our pedestrian accident case results include:
- $32,756,156 record-breaking verdict for a 60-year-old Vietnam veteran who suffered severe injuries after being struck by an impaired driver
- $13,500,000 record-breaking settlement for a 24-year-old woman who sustained brain injuries after being hit by a company-owned car
- $8,800,000 settlement for a 53-year-old woman who was walking to pick up her grandchildren when two vans collided, causing one of them to jump onto the sidewalk and hit her
- $5,000,000 settlement for the four children of a mother who was killed when the driver of a garbage truck lost control and struck her
- $4,000,000 settlement for a 12-year-old student who was hit by a vehicle while walking in a crosswalk
- $2,250,000 settlement for a 55-year-old pedestrian who was hit by a turning school bus while she was crossing the street
- $1,350,000 settlement for a woman who suffered multiple fractures after she was hit by a school bus while crossing the street with the signal in her favor