One Dead, Six Injured As Minivan Hits Pedestrians In Chinatown

Last updated: November 28, 2018

James Keivom for The New York Times

Driver loses control of minivan in busy Chinatown neighborhood

A horrific pedestrian accident on Nov. 26, 2018, left one 56-year-old man dead and six other people injured. The incident took place in a busy section of Chinatown at the corner of Canal and Forsyth Streets after a man backed up into the sidewalk straight into a group of people standing near two fruit stands.

Witnesses to the accident called 911 after a dark-colored Toyota minivan drove in reverse onto the crowded sidewalk. First responders arrived on the scene at approximately 6:47 p.m. where they found seven people had been injured after the vehicle had jumped the curb and crashed into them. Police said the driver, a 70-year-old-man, had been trying to parallel park when he lost control of the vehicle.

The victim, identified as Zhang Chun-Deng, 56, of Queens, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to CBS News. All victims were brought to Bellevue Hospital where the victim was declared deceased, two people were listed to be in critical condition, and two in serious condition. The driver and a passenger were also injured but reportedly refused medical care.

The driver, Henry Herman, of Monroe, NY, remained at the scene of the accident. He was then taken by police into custody for questioning, and later charged with failure to yield to pedestrians (seven counts), unsafe backing of a vehicle, failure to exercise due care, and driving on/across a sidewalk. He was subsequently released from police custody and scheduled for a future court appearance. A full investigation by the NYPD is underway, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet on Monday night.

The New York Times said in its report police believe the man may have hit the gas pedal instead of the brake which led his vehicle jumping up onto the sidewalk. It was also raining at the time of the accident. However, at the time of the accident, the New York Post reported it was unclear if the weather played a factor in the accident.

Raphaelson & Levine offers our sincere condolences to the friends and family of Zhang Chun-Deng in the wake of this terrible incident. Our thoughts are also with the injured and we hope they will have full recoveries from their injuries.

Pedestrian accidents in New York City

Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are a common occurrence in New York. While city officials have strived to reduce these terrible incidents through initiatives, such as the adoption of the Vision Zero program, pedestrian accidents like Monday’s tragedy still occur. According to statistics released by New York City officials, pedestrian fatalities in the city have dropped by 45 percent since 2013. Other reports indicate, despite clear progress, there is still a way to go because Vision Zero isn’t quite yet on pace to reach its goal in eliminating traffic deaths by 2024.

Consequently, some say these numbers don’t show the full picture because they aren’t fully highlighting the “hit-and-run epidemic” that has been plaguing the city for years. Reports suggest NYPD data shows hit-and-runs in New York City have increased 26 percent between 2013 and 2017. While these statistics include both damage to property and personal injury, there were 5,000 hit-and-run accidents last year, up 13 percent since 2013. Many of the perpetrators are never arrested.

Pedestrian accidents are a serious problem in the United States and the overall trend of incidents is rising. NPR reported in February 2018 five states accounted for 43 percent of pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2017. New York was one of those five states.

What to do if you are affected by a pedestrian accident?

Pedestrian accidents can be catastrophic to those persons impacted. For most victims, these accidents occur without any warning since driver behavior can be so unpredictable. While sometimes these events are truly accidental, many could have been prevented.

Sadly, pedestrian accidents are often caused by drivers who negligent in their behaviors. Distracted driving is oft-cited by experts and researchers as a primary cause of these accidents. Other factors, such as an increased number of cars on the road, along with driver confusion, road rage, or aggressive driving, also can contribute to the cause of these terrible accidents.

If you or a loved one have been impacted by a pedestrian accident, you deserve justice for the damages and emotional trauma that you’ve suffered. For over twenty-five years the attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine have provided compassionate, knowledgeable representation for pedestrian accident victims throughout New York. We’ll work hard to ensure the driver who caused the accident is held accountable for their actions. To learn more about how we can help you, give us at 212-268-3222 or complete the contact form below to request a free lawyer consultation.


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If you've been involved in an accident you may have be eligible for compensation. Learn more about your legal options in a free consultation with an attorney at Raphaelson & Levine today.

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