New York Pedestrian Accident Report: A popular teenager was killed on Monday morning near his Queens school by an out of control van which jumped the curb and collided with a row of young students waiting on the sidewalk to cross the roadway. This accident occurred on March 11, 2013, at approximately 10:00 a.m., at a busy stretch of Thomson Avenue near 30th Street in Long Island City, Queens. This area is known as a dangerous, high traffic area, with heavy traffic often coming from the nearby Koch/59 Street Bridge. There are two schools located in the area as well, La Guardia Community College and Applied Communications High school, with many students congregating on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street.
The decedent, identified as Tenzin Drudak, aged 16, was a sophomore at the high school. At the time of this accident, he was observed walking near the intersection, with a group of students, who were waiting to cross the intersection. The van, a Dodge Caravan, crossed several lanes of traffic, jumped the curb and collided with five students standing on the sidewalk. Young Mr. Drudak was caught under the van, and dragged until the van hit a tree and stopped. The driver exited the van and appeared to be uninjured. An eyewitness called the police who are investigating the accident in accordance with New York State Law, which requires a full accident reconstruction report in every fatal accident. A police spokesperson stated that the operator admitted to losing control of his vehicle when he reached for a milk carton that he had dropped while driving. The van’s driver was not charged with any crimes. The decedent was taken via ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The four other victims were taken to nearby hospitals where they were all listed in stable condition.
Manhattan pedestrian accident attorney, Jonathan C. Reiter, who has handled many motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents in New York and the surrounding areas, commented on the nature of a single vehicle striking so many pedestrians, as follows: “ It is clear that the driver’s statements regarding reaching for a milk carton and then losing control of his vehicle are a clear admission of liability for this accident. Moreover, there are municipal laws in the City of New York, regarding the standard of extra care and caution placed on drivers who are driving their vehicles in the vicinity of a school, in recognition of the high pedestrian traffic in these areas. Drivers of vehicles are obliged by law to drive at a lower speed in the areas of schools, generally 20 M.P.H. and to see that which is in the roadway to be seen. The fact that this van jumped the curb and collided with students who were clearly standing on the sidewalk is absolute evidence of negligent operation of the vehicle, with very tragic consequences.”
Mr. Reiter went on to explain the issue of insurance coverage in a one –car multiple pedestrian accident as follows: “The no-fault law covers the basic economic loss of a victim of an accident, which in this case would cover hospital and medical expenses, as well as lost income, if any, and for the tragic victim, funeral expenses up to $2000.00. If none of the victims live in a home that owns a car, then the no-fault insurance carrier on the wrongdoing van would cover the basic economic loss component of the losses here. If any of the victims lived in a home with a vehicle, then that vehicle’s insurance policy would cover the no fault claims. Moreover, the van’s insurance carrier would cover what is known as the bodily injury loss of all five of the victims, including the damages for the pain and suffering and wrongful death of Mr. Drudak. This unfortunate young man clearly sustained terrible pain and suffering while he was being dragged by the van, and his parents also have a significant claim for his wrongful death.”
Tragically, as the driver negligently reached for a carton of milk, while driving a van, his decision to do so set into motion a series of events that killed a young student with great prospects in life, and left a family to mourn forever, says New York City pedestrian accident attorney Jonathan C. Reiter.