Brooklyn Boro

Car crash destroys Prospect Park war monument

March 8, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The accident at Bartel-Pritchard Square on Sunday morning in which a World War I monument was toppled highlights a history of traffic problems at the square as well as what can happen when a driver has a severe history of traffic violations.

Video taken at the scene shows the plain black-granite monument, with the words “For Valor And Sacrifice” and the date 1965, scuffed and in a horizontal position; benches wrecked; and the car, a white BMW with a Texas license plate, with its front end destroyed.

Bartel-Pritchard Square, which is actually a circle, is at the intersection of Prospect Park West and Prospect Park Southwest and was named after two Brooklyn residents, Emil Bartel and William Pritchard, who were killed in 1918, during that conflict. Among its highlights are the Nitehawk Prospect Park Theater (originally the Sanders Theater); and Farrell’s Bar and Grill, one of the oldest bars in Brooklyn. 

This isn’t even the first time someone plowed into the War Memorial in the middle of the circle — the same thing happened in 2010, DNA Info reported in a 2012 article. 

“If you’ve ever tried to cross 15th Street at Bartel-Pritchard Square, you know to take the signs indicating that drivers should yield to pedestrians with a grain of salt,” Comptroller Brad Lander, then a City Councilmember representing the district, wrote in an email at the time.

The car that was involved in the accident, according to police. YouTube Photo

A presentation that the city Department of Transportation made to Community Boards 6 and 7 the same year pointed out several problems, such as “high-speed, free-flowing right turns onto 15th Street,” “illegal double right turns merge into single lane, causing conflict” and “missing crosswalks.” Between 2006 and 2010, there were 10 accidents that resulted in injuries, the illustrated document said.

As far as the driver and occupants are concerned, a request for more information to NYPD brought no new information by press time on Tuesday. However, published reports say that there were two occupants: a 23-year-old woman transported to NYU Langone for pain and bruises, and a man who refused medical attention. Streetsblog reported that cops said a third occupant, possibly the driver, may have fled the scene.

The World War I monument on its side after a car crashed into it. YouTube photo

Doug Gordon, who posted on Facebook, linked to a DOT lookup site, “How’s My Driving,” showing that the owner of the car had 20 red-light camera violations between February 2021 and February 2022, as well as 92 school speed zone violations during the same period.

Comptroller Lander, posting on Twitter during the same day as the accident, said, “We passed the Reckless Driver Accountability Act in 2020 to start building a policy response to the epidemic of reckless driving. But it’s only gotten worse.”

The Act forces drivers who receive five red light tickets or 15 school zone speeding tickets within a year to take a safe driving course.

Also on Twitter, Lisa Ray from Brooklyn, aka bklynbad, wrote, “Nobody does this kind of damage at 25 mph.”


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