Violent Brooklyn hit-and-run kills man at site of Adams’ promise to redesign dangerous intersections

A man died in a brutal hit and run Wednesday at the same Brooklyn intersection where in January, Mayor Adams announced an ambitious street safety plan.
File Photo by Ben Brachfeld

A man died Wednesday after being struck by a hit-and-run truck driver and later another motorist at a notorious intersection in Brooklyn — the very same one where nearly a year ago, Mayor Eric Adams and Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced a campaign to make the city’s intersections safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Cops responded to a 911 call just before 9:15 pm Wednesday from the intersection of Coney Island and Caton avenues in Windsor Terrace; officers from the 70th precinct arrived to a man lying in the roadway, unconscious and unresponsive, and with severe bodily trauma. Responding EMS personnel pronounced him dead on arrival.

NYPD investigators say that the man was struck by a tractor-trailer at an unknown location and found himself trapped under the truck, which did not stop. The man became dislodged from that unenviable position as the truck turned right on Coney Island Avenue, falling to the roadway, cops say, but the reprieve didn’t last long: he was subsequently struck by the 24-year-old driver of a Kia sedan.

The Kia driver remained on the scene and is not facing any charges at this time. The truck driver, however, fled the scene and continued northbound on Coney Island Avenue. Cops are still searching for the rig operator as of midday Thursday.

DOT honchos had suggested the intersection of Coney Island and Caton avenues was due for a revamp, but no improvements have been made this year.

The lurid incident took place at the exact same crossroads where, in January, Mayor Adams and Department of Transportation Commissioner Rodriguez announced a plan to implement safety improvements at 1,000 dangerous intersections across the five boroughs in 2022.

DOT honchos at the time said the agency was considering installing infrastructure to discourage drivers from cutting through one of the Windsor Terrace confluence’s two gas stations to beat red lights. The intersection of Coney Island and Caton avenues, and its immediate vicinity within a one-block radius, has seen 62 injuries resulting from 54 crashes in the past decade, according to NYC Crash Mapper, including 41 motorists, 14 pedestrians, and 7 cyclists.

Last month, the Adams administration announced it had exceeded its 2022 goal, having improved 1,200 intersections and announcing a new goal of 1,400 by year’s end. Improvements included everything from major street redesigns to traffic signal priority for pedestrians and cyclists. The 1,200 intersections did not, however, include Coney Island and Caton, according to a list compiled by DOT and reviewed by amNewYork Metro.

A DOT spokesperson said that the agency is looking into potential safety improvements at the intersection but did not provide specifics.

“We send our deepest condolences to family of the individual who lost his life in last night’s hit and run,” said agency spokesperson Tomas Garita. “DOT is working closely with the NYPD as the investigation into the causes of the crash remains ongoing.”

Coney Island Avenue, which runs in two directions from Windsor Terrace to Brighton Beach, is a particularly deadly stretch of road in Brooklyn. Sixteen people have lost their lives on the thoroughfare, or within a block of it, in the past decade, including 12 pedestrians and 4 cyclists, and hundreds more have been injured, according to Crash Mapper.

The city promised safety improvements on deadly Coney Island Ave after a horrific fatal crash in 2019, but they never materialized.File Photo by Steve Solomonson

In 2019, cyclist Jose Alzorriz was stopped at the avenue’s intersection with Avenue L in Midwood when a driver traveling in the opposite direction ran a red light at immense speed. The driver T-boned another passing driver and causing that car to slam with great force right into Alzorriz, in an incident captured on a brutal dashboard cam video. Alzorriz died at the hospital.

Following Alzorriz’s tragic death, former Mayor Bill de Blasio promised safety improvements on the dangerous speedway, such as pedestrian islands, but the changes never materialized.

Wednesday’s Windsor Terrace crash came just two days after another fatal collision not too far away.

Hugo Franco-Comunidad, 23, was riding an electric scooter in Borough Park early Monday morning when he was struck by a Honda driver at the intersection of Fort Hamilton Parkway and 54th Street. Franco-Comunidad suffered severe trauma to his head and was taken to Maimonides Hospital, where he died the following day.

A GoFundMe set up by his family has raised over $10,000 to pay for his funeral.

This story has been updated with comment from DOT, and to clarify that it’s unclear where exactly the truck driver initially struck the man.