Lawmakers Decry Two Hit-And-Run Deaths in Brooklyn

Following a weekend where two separate fatal hit and run crashes occurred in Brooklyn, City Council members Mark Treyger (D-Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Coney Island) and Stephen Levin (Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Dumbo, Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill) yesterday spearheaded a call uring the perpetrators to turn them selves in.

Police say that at 12:28 a.m, Saturday, Neftaly Ramirez, 27, was biking along Franklin Street in Greenpoint when he was struck by a white and green garbage truck traveling southbound on Franklin at the intersection of Noble Street. The driver, who police say worked for a private sanitation company, did not stop, and by the time police and EMS workers arrived, Ramirez was dead. The driver has not been found and the case remains under investigation.

Ramirez death marked the 11th cyclist killed in a traffic-related incident in 2017.

City Council Member Mark Treyger talks about the young man killed in Gravesend. Photo by Phoebe Taylor Vuolo

A day later, at about 3:10 p.m., Sunday, surveillance footage shows that Gravesend resident Alejandro Tello, 18, was hit by a white BMW SUV as he crossed the intersection of West 10th St. and Avenue T on his skateboard. He died overnight at Maimonides Hospital. Police located the vehicle only a few blocks away, and the driver has not been found.

“Regrettably, this is not the first time tragedy has struck this neighborhood, or any street in this City for that matter,” said Levin. “But if nothing changes, it certainly won’t be the last. I’m appealing to the perpetrator’s basic humanity and asking them to turn themselves in. Neftaly Ramirez was just leaving work, engaged to be married, and by all accounts a beloved member of the community, and his life was cut short. This is not acceptable.”

“This young man’s [Tello] life has been robbed from him. He aspired to go into law enforcement, he played music, a normal teenager,” said Treyger, raising his voice over the rumble of passing trucks at the intersection of Franklin and Noble. “All his family wants now is closure. They want the driver to come forward, to cooperate, and to be held accountable.”

“The hit and run drivers who killed Neftaly Ramirez and Alejandro Tello are evading the law, and that is simply unacceptable,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Two young lives have been cut short, but our pursuit of justice, from Gravesend to Greenpoint, will not be broken.”

But Levin and Treyger agreed that while it was important to track down the drivers involved in these particular accidents, preventing further cyclist and pedestrian deaths was paramount. Levin argued that bike lanes were needed to protect cyclists, particularly along Franklin Street, which he said has a high volume of truck traffic. Levin noted the success of the Kent Avenue bike lane, just a short distance away.

“Talk to anyone on this street they will tell you, that especially at night, garbage haulers, truckers of all kind are speeding through these intersections, without any regard for human life,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, which advocates for safer street infrastructure. “When you have this much truck traffic on a street, teeming with cyclists and pedestrians, you must give vulnerable road users more protection.”

According to the City, approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in traffic crashes, meaning that on average, vehicles seriously injure or kill a New Yorker every two hours.

If anyone has any information related to the perpetrators of these crimes, please contact the NYPD tips hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

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