Woman Killed by Truck at Murray Hill Intersection Pulling Suitcase

Andrew Levine
Partner, Attorney
NYC Ped Crosswalk Accident.

On Friday morning, a Westchester County middle school teacher was struck by a large home heating oil truck in the early morning hours. According to authorities, the accident occurred just a few steps away from her Murray Hill home.

Early Morning Tragedy Occur in Midtown

According to the New York Post, authorities said Sarah Foster, 27, had left her east side home the morning of February 15, and, as she was crossing the intersection of East 37th Street and Third Avenue in midtown, she was struck by the large truck around 5:50 a.m.

The oil truck had been attempting to turn left onto East 37th Street at the same time Foster was crossing the road. Police and witnesses say Foster was wearing headphones and a hood at the time she was struck and was pulling a suitcase. Sadly, the young teacher had experienced severe trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS.

After the accident, authorities immediately shut down the intersection for several hours and launched their investigation while the city’s peak commute was just getting underway.

The driver, an employee of Approved Oil, remained at the scene of the accident. His identity wasn’t immediately released, but he was later identified as Steven McDermott, 51, a veteran driver for Approved Oil. McDermott was charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care, according to authorities. Both charges are misdemeanors reports the Gothamist and carry a maximum of 30 days of jail time and up to $500 in fines.

Approved Oil confirmed they owned the truck. Chris Fazio, vice president of Approved Oil, offered Foster’s family the company’s sympathies. He then stated they are awaiting the full details of the accident and for the conclusion of the police investigation.

Foster, a 2014 graduate of Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., had recently moved to the Murray Hill neighborhood. She had been teaching sixth-grade social studies at the Louis M. Klein Middle School in Harrison for the past two and a half years. The school district’s superintendent described her as ”extraordinarily warm, talented and dedicated.”

Our deepest sympathies go out to Foster’s family and friends in the wake of this tragic pedestrian accident.

Pedestrian Accidents in Manhattan

Pedestrian accidents are unfortunately more common than we’d like to hear in New York City. According to NBC News New York, this crash was the third deadly accident in the last two years involving an Approved Oil truck. The most recent was just last week after one of the company’s trucks struck and killed a 72-year-old cyclist in midtown near Times Square. In March 2017, an Approved Oil truck hit a 59-year-old woman pedestrian in the Bronx. In each case, different drivers were involved.

Motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians are a frequent occurrence in New York City. According to the latest statistics listed by city officials, 1295 pedestrians were struck by motor vehicles in December 2018. Of those struck by a vehicle, 1279 people were injured and 16 pedestrian accidents were fatal.

Furthermore, of the 19326 overall motor vehicle accidents occurring in New York City during December 2018, 6238 of these accidents were attributed to driver distraction. Failure to yield was cited as the contributing factor in 1683 of the accidents taking place during December.

Transportation Alternatives, a local group dedicated to improving the safety of New York City’s streets, said in a statement regarding this recent accident that there are “no visible traffic-calming measures in place,“ at the East 37th Street and Third Avenue intersection to help prevent senseless accidents like this one. East 37th Street is a six-lane highway that runs through a largely residential area that routinely has many pedestrians walking.

The Department of Transportation said they are looking into the situation to evaluate the circumstances of the accident and the street’s design.

“DOT takes every fatality on our roadways seriously, and has a proactive program of redesigning streets to reduce tragedies like this one,“ the agency said in a statement, according to Patch.

If you or a loved one has suffered a pedestrian accident and you’ve suffered damages and emotional trauma, you deserve justice. The attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine understand your grief and pain and are here to help you through this difficult time. Our firm’s attorneys are compassionate and understand what you’re going through in the aftermath of a devastating pedestrian accident. To learn more about motor vehicle accidents and ways we can help you during this difficult time, please contact us today at 212-268-3222.

Andrew Levine
Partner, Attorney
Andrew J. Levine is a partner at Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm, in New York, NY. A graduate of Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Mr. Levine has been featured in New York Magazine as one of New York’s “Top Personal Injury Litigators” and recognized by Super Lawyers as a “Top Rated Personal Injury Attorney in New York.”

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