Prospect Heights

Cyclist dies, six injured in grisly crash near Barclays Center in Brooklyn

Out-of-control SUV slams into two cars and a bike

July 13, 2015 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A cyclist died and several other people were injured in a horrific crash involving three vehicles near Barclays Center on Monday morning. Part of the bicycle can be seen stuck in the wheel of the out-of-control SUV.  AKatzPhotos

A cyclist died and six other people were injured in a horrific crash involving three vehicles on Fourth Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush avenues on Monday morning at roughly 7 a.m.

The cyclist was identified by NYPD as Alejandro Moran-Marin, 35, who lived on 61st Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Moran-Marin’s mangled bicycle was in pieces, with a shoe and a wheel on the ground at Fourth Avenue and Pacific Street and another wheel near Flatbush.

An NYPD spokesperson said that Moran-Marin was DOA and that six people – three vehicle operators and three passengers — were transported to New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, where they were in stable condition Monday afternoon.

The driver causing the mayhem was identified as Claudio Rodriguez, 37. The cause of the crash is still to be determined and the investigation is ongoing, an NYPD spokesperson said. According to an unconfirmed report in the New York Post, Rodriguez “suffered a seizure” at the wheel of his Honda after forgetting to take his medication.

Rodriguez remains in stable condition at Methodist. No charges have been filed at this time.

According to NBC News, a witness, Joseph Weaver, captured the aftermath of the accident on his cellphone. He said he found the driver of the SUV sitting on the ground, saying, “You know when you feel, like, dizzy? I don’t remember, I don’t remember.” 

Uber driver Zack Sharhan told PIX11 News he was carrying three passengers in his car when he was hit from behind by an SUV near Fourth Avenue and Dean Street.

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NYPD said that no pedestrians were injured.

The incident covered several blocks, starting at Fourth Avenue and Dean Street and stretching to Barclays Center.

Photographer Andy Katz arrived at the scene around 7:45 a.m. One of the drivers involved in the incident told Katz that his car was stopped for the traffic light at Fourth Avenue and Dean Street when an SUV, a Honda Pilot, rear-ended him and then took off, headed for Atlantic.

Katz said the air bags of the rear-ended car had not deployed, and the driver appeared to be dazed.

The driver of the car that was rear-ended sits, stunned, in his damaged vehicle.

Somewhere around Fourth Avenue and Pacific Street the SUV hit the bicyclist. Part of the bike was at Fourth and Pacific, “but the body was almost on Flatbush,” Katz said.

Pieces of the front of the bike were stuck in the SUV’s wheel.

“He crashed into at least one other car, on Fourth Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush,” Katz told the Eagle. Then the driver of the SUV slammed into one of the steel bollards surrounding the LIRR entrance.

Passerby Judy Sanchez told Katz that the bike “just flew in the air.”  Sanchez told Katz that FDNY paramedics “pronounced him right away.”

Passerby Judy Sanchez said the bike “just flew in the air.”

“I heard a horrible crash from my bedroom,” said one caller who notified the Eagle. “When I looked out onto Fourth Avenue, I could not see the crash site, but people were running toward the corner of Flatbush…..it was obvious that something horrible had just happened.”

Public Advocate Letitia James invoked Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, designed to make city streets safer, and said that more had to be done.

“Today’s tragic accident in Brooklyn underscores our urgent need to expand traffic safety reforms across New York City,” she said in a statement. “Vision Zero has helped save lives, but we must do more to keep dangerous drivers accountable. We pray for the victims and their families during this difficult time.”

 One of the cars hit by the SUV during Monday’s horrific crash.

Chaotic and dangerous intersection

The triangle formed by Atlantic, Flatbush and Fourth Avenues is a fast-moving, dangerous intersection and the site of frequent accidents. Atlantic Avenue, one of the busiest streets in Brooklyn, has been designated a 25-mph “slow zone,” but speeding is still common.

Transportation Alternatives’ Brooklyn Activist Committee is calling to transform Atlantic Avenue, both east and west of Flatbush, into a ”Complete Street” with protected bike lanes, traffic calming measures and pedestrian safety improvements.

The transformation would fall under the mantle of the Vision Zero initiative.

Police inspect the totaled SUV after it came to a rest in front of the LIRR station.

Families for Safe Streets (FSS), an organization made up of relatives of people killed in traffic violence, is hosting a Vigil for Vision Zero on Tuesday, July 14 , 7 p.m. at Union Square Park North.

In a statement issued before Monday’s crash, FSS said, “Since January, 23,463 New Yorkers have been injured in traffic crashes; 115 have been killed. The victims of traffic violence are our parents, our children, our friends. On July 14, please stand with us to condemn this silent epidemic.”

Almost a thousand people had signed up to attend by press time.

Amy Cohen, co-founder of FSS, is demanding that crashes like the one that happened on Monday not be called “accidents.”

“By refusing to say ‘accident,’ we are reminding all New Yorkers that traffic crashes are preventable, that dangerous streets can be fixed, and that careless, negligent and reckless driving can be deterred,” she said in a statement.

Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, which backs FSS, said, “Every day I open the paper to another story of a New Yorker killed crossing the street. Every 30 hours in our city, another pedestrian’s life is lost.”

He continued, “Arterial roadways re-engineered with new bike lanes and public plazas, the speeding epidemic halted by a safer speed limit and automated enforcement cameras — these are all rungs on the ladder to Vision Zero, a city where no one is killed or injured in traffic.”

The New York Post reported that the driver of the SUV had a seizure, but NYPD did not confirm that by press time.

Transportation Alternative’s Brooklyn Activist Committee will meet on July 30, 7 p.m. at the Brooklyn YWCA, 30 Third Avenue, just blocks from Monday’s crash.

NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad works the scene. AKatzPhotos

Updated 5 p.m. with more information about the SUV driver and number of victims.

Updated on July 14 with the name the SUV driver and victim, and other details.

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