From The New York Shitty Inbox: HOLY SH*T!

April 27, 2009 by
Filed under: Greenpoint Magic 


This rather unconventional take on double parking comes courtesy of Graham T. Beck. He writes:


I walked out of my apartment to take a jog this afternoon, and the attached is what I saw…

According to an eye-witness, the driver of the white van was fleeing some undercover cops, doing about 100mph down Manhattan Avenue. Between India and Huron, the driver of the white van struck a young blonde woman, approximately 20 years old.

After the collision, the driver continued North along the Avenue.

At Dupont Street, the driver of the white van apparently lost control of his the vehicle and crashed into the black SUV, which was forced backwards on top of the station wagon.

The pedestrian’s condition is unknown. The driver of the white van was detained by the police.

I suspect I speak for many when I say my sincerest wishes are with the loved ones of the innocent bystander who was killed by this asshole. For those of you who are wondering, the next 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting will be on May 18th. I strongly recommend that each and every person who is outraged by this woman’s senseless death make it a point to attend.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, 10:19 a.m., 4/28/09: The New York Daily News has written a piece about this incident. You can read it by clicking here. Streetsblog also has a great piece which you can read here.

UPDATE, 5:42 p.m.; I just received these images and commentary from Laura Hofmann.



I came home from school to learn that there had been a shootout on Nassau Ave. A car chase down Manhattan Ave. A young girl hit & killed. And three cars piled onto each other across from my building.

The captain of the 94th can stand on his head from now until doomsday and he won’t convince me that there’s no crime problem happening in Greenpoint. We’re not even half way through 2009 and Greenpoint has a long list of problems going on!

Photo Credits: Graham T. Beck & Laura Hofmann


26 Comments on From The New York Shitty Inbox: HOLY SH*T!

  1. DukesSoups on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 4:16 pm
  2. According to several people I spoke to, she was killed instantly. Horrific.

  3. missheather on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 4:46 pm
  4. That’s what I just heard. This is disgusting. I hope this will motivate people to go to next month’s Community Council meeting.

  5. bitchcakes on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 5:23 pm
  6. oh. my. god! This explains why the B61 stayed on McGuinness Blvd until Greenpoint Ave tonight (instead of turning west on Freeman like it usually does). From the bus, I saw the cops had blocked the Manhattan Ave further north, but had NO idea it was for something so senseless, horrific and tragic! There is no sentence fitting enough for this animal. I’m so sorry for that young woman and all that know her.

  7. martin on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 5:39 pm
  8. I live on Manhattan and India and heard the impact. I saw them pick up the girl’s flip flops at the pedestrian crossing here, then later pick up the body a block down at Manhattan and Huron.

    I didn’t realise it was a police chase – although I was amazed at how quickly the police arrived on the scene.

  9. AMOJA on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 7:03 pm
  10. And I was all excited to come home this afternoon to see some fine car sex in person. Now I feel awful. What miserable and tremendously unfortunate news.

  11. Queen TEE on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 7:07 pm
  12. I was there less than a minute after it happend. I had headphones on, so I didnt hear it. A young blonde girl, laying face down in the road. When I walked past she moved, she lifted her head up for a second but her hair covered up her face. Then she didn’t move any more. There was no blood. Her legs were all broken and twisted, like spaghetti. I saw her white socks. I didn’t see her shoes anywhere. Her belongings, a purse and its contents were strewn several yards behind her, a clear indication of the speed and the force of the hit. She had a pack of gum in her purse and all the pieces flew several feet out of the pack. Some people watching got sick. I felt pretty faint. We knew it was bad when the ambulance picked her up but didn’t make a hasty exit to a hospital. I noticed tonight so far there was nothing about this on the news. Look both ways before you cross.

  13. d on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 7:22 pm
  14. That poor girl. I hope she didn’t suffer and my condolences to her family and friends. What a horrible thing.

  15. travis on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 9:39 pm
  16. I heard a horrific crash & then lots of sirens heading north on Manhattan.

    When i came out of the house a while later, two 2-block stretches blocked off, by the car & by India, with what looked like every detective in the 94 & a whole lot of uniformed bosses by India, including 2 highway bosses (jodhpurs’n’jackboots), all talking anxiously on cellphones or among themselves & no-one whatsoever interviewing any witnesses, & a whole lot more DTs by the car a few blocks up.

    Looked like full on Mongolian Clusterf*ck mode to me; something tells me there may be a new Captain coming to the 94 given this after the last couple months (can you say Compstat?).

    Thank god this wasn’t a couple hours later when kids were coming home from school & of course it could have been anyone of us who reads this lying there dead instead of that poor girl .

  17. missheather on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 9:43 pm
  18. Good god that is HORRIBLE. I hope they lock this guy up and throw away the key.

  19. travis on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 10:07 pm
  20. Whatever they were chasing him for must have been quite consequential, to lead to a high-speed chase down the busiest street in the precinct in mid afternoon (exactly how you have a high speed chase down Manhattan at that hour is mysterious, given the traffic), or else…. really bad judgment & tactics.
    My impression of the DT/boss convention & their anxious vibe that I mentioned above , was that this was not looking good for the NYPD.
    As to the bad guy, if the guy driving the white minivan lived, I’d be impressed; I saw the front & it was pretty smashed in; it must have hit quite hard , to drive one parked vehicle onto the one behind it.

  21. missheather on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 10:14 pm
  22. I agree. Methinks next month’s Community Council Meeting will be very interesting to say the least.

  23. halcyon on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 10:14 pm
  24. sadly, i almost had a run in (or rather, the van running into me) myself this afternoon.

    i was walking down on driggs crossing manhattan ave a little after 2pm today. the white van ran the red light, and swerved around just missing the 3 of us (me plus 2 friends) that just passed the middle of the intersection. then we saw an undercover cop car, in pursuit of the white van. later we heard sirens, and i sincerely hoped that the two weren’t related. sadly, that wasn’t the case. around 4pm i headed down india to catch the G, and saw the block of manhattan ave between india & huron roped off. i spoke to an officer to inquire with what happened. he just got on shift, but apparently had heard thus far that a 16 year old (without a license) had stolen a car and then was pursued in a car chase. and hit a pedestrian, who didn’t make it.

    my heart goes out to those close to the woman who died. that she was merely living her life before it was ended for no good reason–it’s horrible. and i am sincerely sobered to think that it literally could have been me.

  25. missheather on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 10:19 pm
  26. You wrote: my heart goes out to those close to the woman who died. that she was merely living her life before it was ended for no good reason–it’s horrible. and i am sincerely sobered to think that it literally could have been me.

    I could not have said it better myself. This woman’s death is not only scary, it is also a “wake up call”— and totally pointless.

  27. travis on Mon, 27th Apr 2009 10:27 pm
  28. BTW, there were no sirens _at all_ before the crash, so the pursuit vehicle wasn’t giving anyone any warning. There were a lot right after.

  29. matthewre on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 12:08 am
  30. My boyfriend works at Champion and arrived thirty minutes before the crash. We can’t imagine anything was so important to necessitate a high speed chase in a busy neighborhood – this would be scary enough on the open road! Shame, shame, shame on these cops for putting everyone’s lives in danger. And where exactly did this guy think he was going – for a swim across Newtown Creek? Someone said that as the driver took off running after the accident his pants fell down, and this is what allowed the teenagers who loiter in front of the hotel to tackle him. I suspect this wasn’t anything terribly serious, and now someone is dead because at worst, all of the scum involved had a mutual desire to hot rod.

    I can’t stop thinking about that poor girl’s family. It is unlikely I would have seen a car (traveling so fast, probably blocks away) as I stepped out in the street, either. I walk that block every day, and so does everyone I know in this neighborhood. It could have been any of us.

  31. bleibtreu on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 12:15 am
  32. “but apparently had heard thus far that a 16 year old (without a license) had stolen a car “

    The driver, Jose Maldonado, is 28 with a long rap sheet mostly involving stealing and burglarizing cars.

  33. AMOJA on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 6:21 am
  34. Last night I couldn’t help but wonder how responsible the authorities are in all of this. If the things I’ve read are true, it seems rather irresponsible to chase a suspect at high speeds through a residential area, especially without sirens. There has to be a policy against this, right?

  35. bestviewinbrooklyn on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 8:20 am
  36. What a terrible incident. Looking both ways may not have even helped her considering the speed/erratic driving that the accounts describe. If the driver was indeed 16 (and it’s not a mix-up between the victim’s age and the perpetrator’s), I hope they treat him like the big boy he thinks he is. If you want to drive like an adult and kill like an adult, you should be treated like one in court.

    There are pedestrian/auto accidents that are truly accidents; this is not one. This was a crime.

  37. kgregory on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 8:47 am
  38. Truly sad. I saw that someone set up a memorial last night. My heart goes out to her family:

  39. OldStyleNo10 on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 10:51 am
  40. The oddest part about this whole trragedy is that at 11:30 p.m. last night, i got a phone call from a reporter from the New York Post asking me if I knew anything about the accident, or the victim. I can’t imagine what they were doing other than making random calls to India Street addresses. But how thoughtless.

  41. missheather on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 11:01 am
  42. NICE— but not unheard of. Shortly after word about Bob Guskind’s death got out (and authoring one of the most smug and backhanded death announcements I have ever read) I was contacted by a reporter from The Brooklyn Paper. He wanted me to call him back/help him with the obit he was writing. Mind you, this after a night of getting NO SLEEP whatsoever and meeting with his widow (who was traumatized). I won’t go into the language I used but suffice it to say I told him no.

    Although I understand the need for getting “on top” of a story some reporters could and SHOULD exercise a little more empathy/taste.

  43. d on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 12:07 pm
  44. While people focusing on the wisdom of a car chase by the police is understandable, I hope the guy who hit her doesn’t get lost in that shuffle. He is the one who hit her and ended her life. As stupid as it may have been for the police to be chasing someone at high speed on busy streets, he didn’t have to make the choice to try and outrun them.

  45. missheather on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 12:23 pm
  46. I do not necessarily disagree with you. However, I would posit the question as to “when to say when”. In other words at one point is it in the better interest of public safety (which let us not forget is the reason police department exists in the first place) to disengage. In any case I hope someone (perhaps NAG or the Greenpoint Reformed Church???) will step forward and host a “sit-down” where we can discuss our feelings about this horrible incident prior to the next Community Council Meeting.

  47. bleibtreu on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 2:36 pm
  48. Personally, I think it’s too early to know how much blame can be assigned to the cops. The car was stolen fairly close by, on Jackson Street off Kingsland. We don’t know at what point the unmarked car initiated the chase, or how long it went on before the woman was hit. Reportedly the cops then did stop at that scene and let the van go on. It wasn’t being chased when it hit the parked cars, but that clearly made no difference; he continued at a high rate of speed. It’s certainly possible that if they’d broken off the chase earlier, he still would have passed India Street at the same time and at the same speed.

    I’m not a big police cheerleader, but neither do I expect — or want — them to ignore felonies in progress. They should exercise care and be as safe as possible, of course, but it’s not clear yet whether they did that in this case or not.

  49. martin on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 4:51 pm
  50. The police were pursuing when the accident occurred – albeit in an unmarked vehicle. They had the ‘undercover type’ flashing lights on – behind the front grill and headlights. There were no sirens prior to the crash.

  51. anonymouse on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 9:43 pm
  52. Please understand I ask the following questions in all sincerity. As a former reporter, I want to know what is the best way to contact someone immediately after tragedy.

    Miss Heather, could The Brooklyn Paper writer have handled his/her request in a better way? How? Or should he/she not have contacted you at all?

    OldStyleNo10, why was it thoughtless of the New York Post reporter to call you about the hit and run? Because it was a cold call? Because it was late? Because the tragedy did not merit a story in the New York Post?

    Again, I sincerely want to know — and to pass on any lessons to younger reporters.

    A longish p.s.:
    I once was assigned to write up a story about who’d been murdered during a routine traffic stop. I was asked to call his fiancee (also a cop) the night it happened. I didn’t want do it. I felt sick. I was going to lie to my editor and say I couldn’t reach her, but a veteran reporter told me that I should try, that sometimes people welcome the opportunity to talk about someone they’ve lost. They want the world to know who he or she was and they want to make sure the facts are set straight.

    So I called. And I was shocked when someone answered the phone. I identified myself, offered my condolences, apologized for intruding and asked if the fiancee would like to talk to me for a story. I fully expected to have the phone slammed down on me. To my shock, the fiancee DID want to talk. She was crying but she managed to get a few words out abouthow much she loved her fiance, how they’d been high school sweethearts, how he adored going fishing, watching The Simpsons and being a cop. And that he was a hero. That was pretty much it.

    Okay, so in that instance it worked out. And it worked out another time when I called the sister of a 19-year-old Marine killed in Iraq. (The parents would not speak to me.)

    Luckily, those were the only times I had to call someone immediately after a tragedy.

    But now I’m wondering, what were the reporters like who contacted each of you? I tell younger reporters to make those calls. Should I not?

    Thanks. I appreciate it.


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