Police are still seeking the driver of a van that struck and killed a 65-year-old Bronx man last week, and raising new questions about road safety in Morris Park.
The accident occurred Tuesday, August 30 at around 9:15 p.m. at the intersection of
Bronxdale Avenue and Barnes Avenue, where responding officers found the victim, later identified as longtime neighborhood resident Ralph Fino, unconscious and unresponsive due to trauma to the body.
He was taken to Jacobi Medical Center by ambulance where he later died.
According to the NYPD, the man was walking across Bronxdale Avenue near Barnes Avenue when he was struck by a light-colored van traveling westbound on Bronxdale Avenue. The elderly gentleman was flipped into the air and hit again by a dark green Honda Odyssey that was traveling eastbound.
The driver of the Honda a 33-year-old woman, remained at the scene. However, the driver of the van fled in the vehicle westbound on Bronxdale Avenue.
Morris Park Community Association president Tony Signorile said speeding was not a rare occurrence on Bronxdale Avenue, especially where the road curves between Morris Park and Rhinelander avenues.
“I call it a racetrack, because everybody speeds,” he said.
Signorile said there had been talk in the past of adding more traffic lights or other speed deterrents, but nothing had been implemented.
“They should put speed bumps,” Signorile said. “I hope this is a wake up call to our elected officials.”
Community Board 11 district manager Jeremy Werneke said he was not aware of any plans for traffic or safety adjustments on the road in the near future, but said the issue could be discussed at the board’s Thursday, September. 22 meeting.
Councilman James Vacca said he would be open to supporting traffic adjustments on the road if the residents called for them.
But any adjustments would ultimately have to get approved through the NYC Department of Transportation, he said.
“The City Council has no jurisdiction on city roads,” Vacca said.
Vacca said he was frustrated that the investigation into Fino’s death, like another hit-and-run death of a cyclist on East Tremont Avenue earlier in June, has not moved towards a fast resolution.
“I’m sick and tired of these hit and runs,” Vacca said. “I want these people brought to justice.”
Vacca said he also wanted the city to crack down on people who are driving without a valid license or registration or phony license plates.
The investigation into the accident is being handled by the NYPD’s Highway Patrol Collision Investigation Squad.
Calls to 49th Precinct community relations spokesman Det. Jay Sturdivant were not returned by press time.
No information on funeral or memorial services for Fino were available.