Photo of the aftermath by Guy Mascioli.
A 37-year-old man was taken to the hospital with severe head trauma after being run over by a truck on Amsterdam Avenue on Wednesday evening.
The man was “extremely intoxicated” when he stepped off the curb at the corner of Amsterdam and 81st Street around 6:50 p.m. and “wandered into the back wheels of a truck,” according to Captain Timothy Malin, commanding officer of the 20th precinct. Witnesses at the scene told police that the driver had the right of way. The driver, who had been traveling north on Amsterdam, told police that he only found out he had hit someone when a crowd gathered at the rear of his truck.
Malin said the incident was witnessed by several people at the busy intersection, and that the driver was deemed to not be at fault.
“Malin said the incident was witnessed by several people at the busy intersection, and that the driver was deemed to not be at fault.”
synopsis: Probably killed a guy, so we chatted with some, but it’s all good.
Are our “protectors” really that irresponsible? WSR, please tell me the reporting’s incorrect. I sure hope so.
Dannyboy, is there no circumstance in which a pedestrian’s own actions are the cause of his or her death? Mind you, I am extremely sympathetic and wish that this had not happened to him – no one deserves such a terrible fate. But if you are driving down the street and someone in a drunken state suddenly lurches off the sidewalk under your wheels, are you at fault? Could this not be one of those terrible things that happens when alcohol, accident or other unanticipated events drive us into tragic situations?
It is natural to want to find someone to blame. It gives us a sense that the world is orderly, and that if only bad people didn’t do bad things, all would be well. That isn’t real life. Sometimes, people are not doing anything wrong and bad things happen. Sometimes, someone does something, like walk drunkenly outside, that usually doesn’t have a terrible consequence, but due to a terrible confluence of events, it does. Why do you assume that all the witnesses are wrong as to what they saw? Or were you actually there and know that the police were irresponsible?
This is terrible – for the man who was terribly hurt, and his family and friends, and for the driver.
Some people scream for caution when assigning blame in certain circumstances and those people are often the first to assign blame in others. Looks like that’s the case here as well.
“But if you are driving down the street and someone in a drunken state suddenly lurches off the sidewalk under your wheels, are you at fault?”
If you are driving at 25mph, the speed limit on Amsterdam Ave, then yes you should be able to avoid hitting someone. If you are driving 25mph, even if you hit someone, they are pretty unlikely to die. The fact that this driver hit someone, hard enough to kill them, is enough to suggest the driver was not following the law and was in fact driving recklessly. I hope the NYPD investigates this thoroughly and reports back. I look forward to their plan for increased enforcement on Amsterdam Ave.
As for someone “walking underneath your tires” – that is only even possible on illegal tractor trailers. That is in fact one reason why they are illegal. We knownfor a fact that this driver was operating an illegal vehicle and commiting a crime. Being drunk is not punishable by death on the UWS.
Do you realize how much inertia there is involved with a truck this big at 25 mpg? There is no way they would be able to stop in time if a drunk person lurched into traffic after the cab had already passed.
“We knownfor a fact that this driver was operating an illegal vehicle and commiting a crime.'”
Why don’t you follow up with some proof of this “fact”. You and “Jason” also don’t realize that Amsterdam Ave is a truck route. That’s where they are supposed to drive.
Jay, if you watch the NBC news video they show the truck.
I personally asked Captain Malin for better enforcement at this intersection at the last community board meeting I went to. It is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Margaret, tell us the source for thinking this is a 53′ rig. So far, only seems like a rumor based on another rumor. Seems like some people are trying to change the subject for their own agendas…
Even if it was a 53′ trailer (which there is no evidence for), there are permits that can be applied for to permit them on Amsterdam Ave and other truck routes.
Jay, 53’ trailers are not legal on ANY Manhattan street or Avenue. Not a single one. They are not safe to be on surface streets around residential and small businesses (as evidenced by the two serious injuries and one fatality they’ve caused by illegally driving on Amsterdam Avenue).
Google “nyc 53 foot trailer” and the rule will be the very first link. Oversize 53’ trailers are not permitted on truck routes because they aren’t safe on surface streets.
Shit happens to drunk pedestrian ban all truck’s to trafficking up Amsterdam
Agreed — there are times when the pedestrian is at fault – at least to some extent. Sometimes it’s texting – but other times it is simply a lack of awareness.
I witnessed a horribly sad incident earlier this year when a man was walking three dogs across Broadway at 89th street when one of the dogs was hit and killed by a driver. People immediately jumped to blame the driver. However, the pedestrian “cut” the crosswalk and was not watching all of his dogs (one of which had lagged far behind him on an retractable leash). The driver had the light – and was not speeding. Tragic to witness….but a situation where perhaps everyone was at fault and no one was at fault.
A green light is not a license to kill. As a driver, you are responsible for operating your vehicle safely. If you actually are traveling under 25mph, you should be able to stop in almost all circumstances. If you kill a dog, or a person, with your car, “I had the light” should not be an excuse either legally or morally. The UWS needs to take steps to redesign our streets and enforce common sense laws that reflect the walkable character of our neighborhood.
Yes Youngsally, “there are times when the pedestrian is at fault”.
BUT, BUT there are times when the driver is at fault.
AND there are times that the bartender at fault.
But I guess inserting a story with dogs in it is distracting enough that we no longer have to consider anyone being at fault EXCEPT THE PEDESTRIAN. No investigation or review required. Why, even Sherman wrote: “but the accident was very likely his fault” as his definite argument that THE PEDESTRIAN DID IT to himself.
Young Sally, my discussion with you has ended here.
Your contribution to the discussion is consistent.
Rock on with your pedantic self
You are correct, we won’t know until there is a full investigation — but my point is a number of factors came into play….the cause is unlikely binary.
I sense a lot of frustration in your initial comment – and venting is fine; however, parsing and critiquing every response to strikes me as unnecessary and unproductive.
“Dannyboy, is there no circumstance in which a pedestrian’s own actions are the cause of his or her death?”
A – Of course there are.
“It is natural to want to find someone to blame.”
A – That is not my personal experience, but I can see that most commenters here do need to assign blame IMMEDIATELY.
“It gives us a sense that the world is orderly, and that if only bad people didn’t do bad things, all would be well.”
A – Well that does provide a working hypothesis for why SO MANY PEOPLE NEED TO CLOSE THIS UP QUICKLY and just say the drunk died and it was his fault.
“Why do you assume that all the witnesses are wrong as to what they saw? Or were you actually there and know that the police were irresponsible?”
A_ I DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING, but other commenters do. I know that the determination should be made AFTER thorough investigation. I was not there or consider the police irresponsible. I do however think it irresponsible to reach a final conclusion, as has been done here, without investigation and review. That is done exactly to ensure that the local authority does not have supreme authority. I would have thought that others felt this way, but hey, who needs the stinken’ process of Law anyway.
dannyboy, we can all see your original comment questioning the responsibility of the police and the first responders! You can’t say one thing and then four comments later claim you didn’t say it. You also questioned the WSR’s reporting for taking the police report at face value. YOU seem to think you are knowledgable enough to comment on an event you did not witness and criticize many people in several different professions who you think all weren’t doing their job.
And on that subject, yes, i actually am an expert on highway safety issues, as I worked in that field for almost 15 years. I also know that roughly a third of pedestrians who are killed by motor vehicles are intoxicated. Pedestrian deaths have also skyrocketed along with the rise in smart phones. Sometimes the driver is at fault but often he or she is not. In this case, police interviewed witnesses and decided the driver was not at fault. What do you get from second guessing them?
Can someone please post the evidence that it was a 53′ rig? The article someone posted here didn’t seem to say that (perhaps I missed it, but it was short and I read it a few times and searched for 53).
I just assumed that you must know this, as it’s been Policy for more than 5 years:
“The New York Police Department has begun conducting robust investigations of traffic crashes that result in critical injuries but not certain or likely death.”
So stop saying that I blame the Police Report or the WSR Reporting. The only one I blame is you for trying to wrap this up without due process.
Dannyboy, you are way off base here. I live near this intersection and arrived home at 7:05, just 15 minutes after the accident. There were close to a dozen police cars and other emergency vehicles with lights flashing, filling an entire block of Amsterdam Avenue. The first responders were fast and they were thorough. The only irresponsible party was the guy who got too drunk to walk without getting himself killed.
I guess the determination should be made using your observation of the situation. You are, by all you say, the expert on traffic incidents.
Or, perhaps you are way off base.
It appears it’s not.
If you read the article you will see that the injured man was “extremely intoxicated” when he stepped into traffic.
I’m sorry this guy is suffering life threatening injuries and I hope he recovers but the accident was very likely his fault rather than the driver who hit him.
Perhaps you should read and understand the facts before you start ranting ignorant nonsense.
Sherman I take it you’re completely ignorant of the fact that 53′ rigs like this are not permitted to drive through New York City and that as such, the driver was 100% responsible for the incident?
Before spreading all over the comment section that the truck was 53 feet and thus illegal, can you please provide a source for that?
It is a very sad state that this country is in that a situation like this is brewing so much controversy. I am all for questioning sources and facts, but this seems pretty open and shut. Everyone here is just trying to prove how smart they are, and in the process, every sounds like a bunch of clucking chickens. Welcome to life on the UWS. No wonder the Republicans hate us.
Here’s the source: https://www.dot.ny.gov/about-nysdot/faq/are-53-foot-long-trailers-allowed-in-nyc
Are 53-foot long trailers allowed to make pick-ups or deliveries in New York City?
That article says nothing about the length of the trailer. Even if it did, how do you know it didn’t get a permit from the DOT?
Here, Leon. https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Tractor-Trailer-Hits-Man-Upper-West-Side-Restaurant-488581321.html
I’m wondering why this article doesn’t include this detail. Did the West Side Rag not consider it newsworthy?
You can’t step off the curb at 81st and Amsterdam straight into northbound traffic, but yes, you can wander. Did Captain Malin really provide detail that he thought the victim was at fault, and chose not to say that the vehicle is strictly illegal on this street? Or he gave the info and it wasn’t reported? I can’t believe you can get maimed by an illegal vehicle and NYPD will just ignore it and say it wasn’t their fault. This isn’t okay.
Not to get too worked up, but this intersection sees USPS trucks speeding, private trash trucks blowing through the red light with absolute impunity, and illegal 53′ trailers, every day. I’ve seen so many near misses with drivers in cars nearly hit by oversized trucks running the red lights. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Jason, I take it that you are completely ignorant that Amsterdam Ave is a truck route 53′ rigs are required to take.
The accident may well be found to have to be the fault of the pedestrian, but a thorough investigation is required to determine that.
So, perhaps it is you who should read and understand the facts before you start ranting ignorant nonsense.
How awful! The poor man, and the poor driver!
I saw it. The driver was not at fault and I feel badly for him. What a trauma! I live at that intersection and pedestrians are constantly walking into traffic against the lights. It’s an awful situation all around. The cops were still there and had Amsterdam Ave blocked off at 12:15am.
The driver was not at fault? He illegally and recklessly drove a 53′ rig, which is NOT PERMITTED TO DRIVE THROUGH NYC, through a busy residential neighborhood. Still think he wasn’t at fault?
Where did it say the size of the truck?
You are so correct!!!! many times when I make a right on W. 81st St. there’s always someone in front of me either don’t give a shit or they’re on their phones!!! I have to be so careful when I make that turn. people don’t check the don’t walk sign.
I’m sorry you have to live in an intersection, and maybe we can all chip in to help get you situated at a proper domicile. That said, it is a horribly dangerous intersection inasmuch as the light is out-of-synch with the others along Amsterdam Avenue. I have been drunk there myself at times in the past.
“I have been drunk there myself at times in the past.”
Ever consider that the bartender serving you and this guy share some culpability? The WSR reporting makes it clear that Captain Timothy Malin certainly doesn’t.
Ever consider taking some time away from the computer?
You contribute NOTHING and then insult various commenters who actually discuss the WSR articles.
You are just too obvious in it, try harder.
My good dannyboy, ever considered that I had prepared my own drinks and that there was no bartender involved? If there is culpability (there isn’t), then it’s all mine.
That corner is a very bad crossing corner, people don’t look when they’re crossing…when it says don’t walk “don’t walk”, also how do you know that unfortunate person was looking at his phone.? It is a very sharp turn that buses and trucks take and you do have to step away from the curb at that right turn. Many times when I make my right onto West 81st St. from Amsterdam Avenue I really have to look and see who is going to be walking into my jeep.
I’m not someone who victim blames and I’m certainly not making any excuses for someone who was reportedly intoxicated, but as someone who lives within blocks of this intersection, I’ve seen how confused UWS locals and tourists can get by the unique and unusual traffic pattern of vehicles being able to turn both East and West on 81st when heading North on Amsterdam. Indeed, it’s not unusual for someone (intoxicated or not) to come to a swift but incorrect decision about whether it’s safe to walk against the light. It’s bout to happen given that the traffic pattern is irregular and humans are prone to creating cognitive sets.
It’s not that difficult to safely cross if you pay attention to the PEDESTRIAN signals, not the VEHICULAR traffic lights.
As both a driver and pedestrian in Manhattan see both sides of things.
From both angles for years now there has been an increase in people not only failing to “cross at the green”, but simply walking out into traffic totally unaware.
Drunk, on drugs, eyes glued to their phones or tablets, yakking with others or whatever, people consistently walk right out into streets, and often against lights.
One’s heart goes out to this young man, and he is in our prayers. But this knee jerk reaction blaming drivers in these situations must cease.
If one is driving at or under speed limit and or not breaking any known laws, has a valid license, then yes; long as he or she remains at scene of accident (as required by law), nothing will happen.
So which dive bar on Amsterdam is going to get a heavy fine for serving a clearly intoxicated man?
This truck was driving illegally and must face the consequences. 53’ tractor trailers are illegal in the city but the law is completely unenforced by the NYPD. In fact it seems like the NYPD isn’t even aware of the law in most cases. https://www.dot.ny.gov/about-nysdot/faq/are-53-foot-long-trailers-allowed-in-nyc
This is the second person killed by one of these illegal vehicles on the UWS in the last twelve months. The city has got to take action against these illegal vehicles before anyone else dies.
Two more comments:
1) How do the police know he was intoxicated? Is it standard practice to perform a breathalyzer on victims in critical condition? DId they give a breathalyzer tonthe driver?
People across the street may have thought he was walking unsteadily, but there are a lot of disabilities that could potentially cause that. I’m just disgusted with the NYPD’s habit of blaming victims instead, often without anyway of actually proving their assertions, of investigating crimes. The family of this man should sue the NYPD for publicly slandering this man without actually doing any of the work to prove their statements.
2) The mayor, our community board, and people on this website are absolutely obsessed with the e bikes driven primarily by low income delivery guys. They rant and rave about how they are “ILLEGAL!” and how the cops should spend more time confiscating and fining the people riding them. There is a cost to this rhetoric. E bikes are illegal (even though I don’t think they should be), but so are 53’ trailers (https://www.dot.ny.gov/about-nysdot/faq/are-53-foot-long-trailers-allowed-in-nyc). Do you think if an e bike had killed someone the cops would shrug and say “not at fault”? We choose to enforce one law and ignore the other. The problem is that 53’ trailers have killed two people in our neighborhood in the last 12 months and e bikes have never killed anyone anywhere in the city ever. We have to prioritize enforcement of the laws against actually deadly behavior or people are going to keep dying on our streets.
A Where are you coming up with the idea and/or info that the truck was over 53′? If that was in fact the case the 20th would have acted accordingly
B Intox level would have been clear from the standard blood work at the hospital and more importantly multiply witness to the accident stated that he clearly seemed intoxicated.
C If the other incident you were was the one on B’way in the low hundreds after all the media/community incorrect info on the truck, it was found to not be violating the DOT truck regs
I live a block away and walked by about 15 minutes after it happened. I can tell you the people that were standing around were all very upset and concerned. Even the police and EMT’s looked very upset. I think the police did a great job getting there as fast as they did and getting the area under control. I’m very sorry it happened and hope the guy makes it.
“the driver had right of way.” No he DID NOT have the right of way. It is impossible for a 53′ rig to have the right of way in Manhattan because they are 100% ILLEGAL in NYC unless they can get a permit under very special circumstances. Note how the police haven’t issued a statement saying that the driver was acting illegally, nor will they so much as issue a ticket for driving illegally. Also note that you’ll never hear a witness give any indication that they’re even aware that these rigs are illegal in NYC – that’s because the media (including this site) never mention it, and the police never mention it. In fact I very much doubt whether your average bone headed, poorly trained NYPD officer even knows that they’re illegal.
The reason why they’re illegal is because they’re highly dangerous in crowded cities like this. They create very serious hazards and cause havoc on the streets. Note how authorities will bend over backwards bragging about their e-bike crackdowns, but not once will you ever hear about any such crackdown on the illegal 53′ rigs which actually kill people.
The driver was operating an oversized rig for which there is no permit to drive on city streets.
Therefore the trucker was 100 percent to blame. As usual NYPD is too lazy to do its job and instead slandered the injured victim.
All big rig trucks are required to have equipment that tracks their speed. I expect the NYPD to track down this information and tell us definitively if he was speeding or not. We already know he was operating an illegal vehicle in a residential neighborhood, but the NYPD has an obligation to thoroughly investigate this death and understand what other circumstances were st play. They’ve already accused the victim of being drunk based on entirely circumstantial evidence. I would say that killing someone with your vehicle is enough evidence to demand a breathalyzer from the driver as well. If the NYPD isn’t investigating these crimes and is blaming the victim based on second hand amateur witness reports instead, we need a political solution to the problem.
1) You Guys give dannyboy to much attention. His ramblings are ignored by most UWSiders.
2) 81 and Amsterdam, because of its unusual traffic pattern (cars go East and West on 81 street), is one of the few city blocks where all four traffic lights ether read “walk” or “don’t walk” at the same time.
Regardless of the above, it appears from all accounts that this was a tragic accident.
Here’s some more of the “attention” that you seek:
1. Is it delusional to call yourself Amsterdam Mayor? Do you also believe that you won an Amsterdam election by a wide majority? By the way, who was your opponent; your partner? My sympathies to your partner.
2.When you do return briefly to Reality, please note that you have insulted every Commenter here by saying that they need to stop relying on one commenter (me) for their ideas. People do have their own ideas Mr Mayor.
3. Since “Mayor” is not getting you the right amount of attention, how about trying Il Duce. More consistent with your comment’s command.
sorry that no one replied to you.
But being a decent guy, I figured I would because you feel so strongly about many people paying attention to my comments.
Also, I hear “ostracization” is popular in the suburbs. And that “shunning” is used in remote rural areas. Where did you develop your attitudes then.
3) Maybe spend less time trolling and more time educating yourself on city traffic rules.
When you get that intoxicated, expect to have consequences. Though Amsterdam from 72 to 96 is a mess with huge trucks all day and night. There is absolutely a need to revisit the traffic pattern in this residential neighborhood.
I was there. There were tons of witnesses. A drunk man stepped into traffic and got knocked over by the truck who didnt see him. Tragic all around. As a driver and a pedestrian, I can attest that this was in no way the drivers fault.
Residential neighborhoods are in Queens. Amsterdam Ave. is a commercial boulevard in Manhattan.
It continues to defy logic why alcohol remains to be legal. So many tragic injuries and deaths are associated with this poison. Relationships, families, and lives are destroyed by this drug every single day and yet the government and society revel in the role it plays. Human beings are said to be the most intelligent animals on the planet and yet we are the only species who produces products that cause us to be sick and die. Not to mention we are the only species that purposefully destroys its own home. All a sure sign of “intelligence”.
Where are all you commenters getting the information that the truck was oversized and exactly 53’ ? I didnt see that written anywhere.
They are making it up. There are a few commenters in this board who type stuff, just to see the reaction. Most boards would block them.
Everyone is focusing on the allegation that the victim was drunk, but no one is mentioning that the trucker’s presence on the street was itself a violation of traffic rules because the truck was oversize. The Rag unquestioningly repeats witness claims that the driver “had the right of way.” How can you have the right of way if you don’t belong on the street in the first place?
I’ve lived in this neighborhood a long time and noticed in recent years there are quite a few drinking establishments competing along that stretch of Amsterdam Avenue. Wondering if bartenders could do better too prevent young adults from over imbibing by refusing to serve people who are already clearly intoxicated.
Dram Shop Law.
For people who are concerned about that intersection, join your local Democratic or Republican Club or independent Club & make your presence known. Follow up with your Assembly Person and the Community Board. The squeaky wheel does get the grease but it takes action to make change.
Hi I just want a update on the 37 year old man who got hit by the truck my husband and I was witnesses to the accident.
This is why 53′ tractor trailers are illegal in NYC. Not sure why the police don’t enforce (are they busy chasing down e-bikes that have killed 0 people in the history of NYC?)
why has no one mentioned the BIKE LANES? Amsterdam Avenue has become a treacherous place to walk or or bike. The bike lanes are used mostly by delivery guys/gals traveling both north and south. As pedestrians we are in terrible jeopardy, there is no more looking just left or right. the bike lane on AA were a terrible mistake..just my opinion. A young man trying to traverse across the street thought the islands etc and to lose is life is heartbreaking.
Because bike lanes make Amsterdam Ave safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Also because bike lanes have nothing to do with the subject.
Even if your statement about the bike lanes being used only by delivery people were true, why would that not be an acceptable use of those lanes?
This NYC DOT link clearly states that 53′ trailers are prohibited on truck routes and only allowed limited use of interstates (I-80 and then to JFK, Westchester, or Long Island):
Many people on this thread keep asking where it says it was a 53′ trailer, yet no one is replying as to the source of that info. Frankly, I think it’s a moot point. I am sure that a 40′ trailer would have run him over just the same. Getting hit by anything at 25 mph is enough to cause mortal damage.
Wow, hard to believe how consistently nasty people can be in their comments to one another.
There is a lot of speculation in the comments here, so I will provide some additional information that I hope will help. As part of the investigation, the NYPD’s Motor Carrier Safety Unit responded to the scene and issued the operator of the truck three summonses on the night of the incident- one for the length of the truck and two for minor equipment violations. So yes, the driver of the truck was committing a traffic infraction by operating the vehicle on Amsterdam Avenue and was immediately cited for doing so. However, this does not make the vehicle an “illegal truck;” rather, it was a properly registered and insured vehicle that committed a traffic infraction. More importantly, the length of the truck does not automatically make the motorist CRIMINALLY liable for the injuries sustained by the pedestrian under the NYS Penal Law, especially given the statements of the witnesses to the responding officers and investigators with regard to the actions of the pedestrian. Put another way, the law places a high burden of proof upon the state for an arrest to be made in these cases, and at this point, such probable cause has not been developed. Know that I spoke with the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad, which is handling this investigation, and that in this, and in all of their other cases, they confer with the Manhattan District Attorneys Office to asses possible criminal liability, and that the investigation is still ongoing. Also, even in the absence of an arrest, the motorist may ultimately bear some CIVIL liability as a result of the collision, but that is not up to the police or the prosecutors to determine.
Thank you for always reaching out to the community you protect.
I also have every confidence in the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad to investigate into the truth.
Thank you Capt. Malin. A great explanation.
… and that sort of communications is community policing with a capital “p”.
Just a reminder that trucks over 55 ft long are illegal on EVERY NYC STREET. They are only allowed to drive on the interstate highways that go through the city.
Photos of the truck show that the cab ALONE was 53 ft. It’s like driving an unlicensed vehicle with a bumper sticker saying “I don’t have a driver’s license”.
So many people get dragged under long tractor trailers. Where’s the enforcement??