Chinatown ‘car’-nage as minivan drivers kill two, injure six others

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Drivers of 2015 Toyota Sienna minivans claimed the lives of two people in Chinatown over the past two weeks.

On Thurs., Nov. 15, around 12:50 p.m., police responded to a 911 call of a pedestrian struck at Bayard St. and Bowery. Upon arrival, they found a 90-year-old woman, Ngan Leung, of 10 Confucius Plaza, conscious and alert complaining of pain.

E.M.S. medics transported her to Bellevue Hospital Center, where she succumbed to her injuries on Wed., Nov. 21.

A preliminary investigation revealed a 66-year-old man was driving a 2015 Toyota Sienna eastbound on Bayard St. attempting to make a left turn onto the Bowery, when he struck Leung in the crosswalk.

The driver remained at the scene and the investigation remains ongoing by the New York Police Department’s Collision Investigation Squad.

Police say drivers of Toyota Siennas, like the one above, killed two pedestrians in Chinatown.

Then, on Mon., Nov. 26, around 6:47 p.m., another pedestrian was killed and numerous people injured when a driver who was backing up plowed into a crowd on a Chinatown sidewalk at Forsyth and Division Sts.

Police said a 56-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The preliminary police investigation determined that Henry Herman, 70, of Satmar Drive of Monroe, N.Y., was operating a 2015 Toyota Sienna in reverse on Forsyth St. against the flow of traffic when he lost control of the vehicle, jumped the curb and struck seven pedestrians. The driver remained at the scene and was taken into custody.

He was charged with failure to yield to pedestrians (seven counts), failure to exercise due care, unsafe backing of a vehicle, and driving on/across a sidewalk.

The investigation is ongoing by the Collision Investigation Squad. The name of the deceased was being withheld pending family notification.

Captain Michael R. Gulinello, Fifth Precinct executive officer, or second in charge, said, in part, the driver was on Forsyth St. heading toward Division St. and “then began to back up on Forsyth St. toward Canal St. in an attempt to park his vehicle. As he approached the parking spot, the vehicle accelerated, striking several people on the sidewalk near a fruit stand. One male was pronounced deceased at the scene, two are listed in critical condition, two are listed with severe injuries and two are treated and refused further medical aid.”

In a statement, Councilmember Margaret Chin said, in part, “Pedestrian safety is among the primary issues facing Lower Manhattan, but there is no reason that we should view this tragedy as an inevitable consequence of living and walking in our city. More must and can be done to create a safer environment for New Yorkers simply trying to go about their day.”

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