Brooklyn Boro

Drag racing turns deadly in East Williamsburg

One dead, 1 injured in early morning crash

January 4, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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One man died and another was taken to the hospital after slamming into the back of a dump truck in East Williamsburg early Tuesday morning in what some observers are calling a possible drag racing-related incident.

If so, it would be only the latest of a series of drag-racing incidents that have plagued several neighborhoods — also including Bay Ridge and Sunset Park — for years.

In Tuesday’s incident, a silver Infiniti sedan rear-ended the truck on Morgan Avenue near Division Place, according to published reports. The sedan’s driver was pulled from the mangled car and was taken to Bellevue Hospital, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. As of press time, police had not yet revealed his identity.

In addition, a 27-year-old passenger who was traveling in the car’s rear seat was transported to Elmhurst Hospital Center and was expected to survive. 

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The yellow paint was painted onto a four-block area of 86th Street in Bay Ridge in order to deter drag racing, the Eagle reported in 2019. Area residents slammed the decision, saying it wouldn’t deter the drag racers one bit. Photo courtesy of Brian Hedden/Bike South Brooklyn

A Honda that was traveling alongside the car avoided the crash and took off without stopping, news reports said. Police said they suspect the two cars were drag racing at the time.

An article in the Eagle last year named Shore Road and a nearby area of the Belt Parkway as a  common location for problematic drag racing at night. 

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan, both of whom represent the area, said they were in contact with the NYPD Highway Patrol, and that several arrests had been made and summonses issued. 

This stretch of the Belt Parkway at times has become the scene of drag races late at night and in the early morning, according to Eagle past reports. Eagle file photo

Gounardes told the Eagle at the time that more than 80 percent of enforcement summonses issued for the entire stretch of the Belt Parkway were for reckless driving or speeding.

Another incident last year happened in Crown Heights, where a car reportedly driven by a drag-racing driver hit one pedestrian and killed another. The incident, around 3 a.m. on August 9 on Utica Avenue near Eastern Parkway, killed Aniya Blandon, 21, and injured an unidentified man, who press reports described as being in stable condition.

Earlier, in November 2017, rapper Fetty Wap was arrested after police said they caught him drag racing with another vehicle on the Gowanus Expressway in nearby Sunset Park. NYPD spokesman Sgt. Thomas Antonetti told the Associated Press that Fetty Wap, whose real name is Willie Maxwell, was spotted speeding on the expressway just after 1 a.m. and was clearly racing another vehicle.

Physical danger isn’t the only problem that drag racers create — some deliberately tamper with their muffler and exhaust systems to make them louder, keeping people up at night. 

In 2020, Gounardes and Brannan introduced the Stop Loud and Excessive Exhaust Pollution (SLEEP) bill, which increased the fine for excessive noise and required that police have decibel readers so that there is no longer an arbitrary standard for “excessive,” the Eagle reported.

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