By Rebecca Henely and Christina Santucci
An NYPD spokesman said Wednesday that the identity of a man struck and killed by a police car responding to an emergency had not been released because they had not yet been able to reach the man’s family in Japan.
The 25-year-old man had been walking in Queensbridge early last Thursday, police and witnesses said.
The officer behind the wheel was one of several assigned to Police Service Area 9, which covers most of the public housing projects in Queens, the NYPD said.
Queensbridge residents described the man who was killed as one of several artistic men who lived together a block from the public housing complex. They said he had black, spiky hair and was wearing an expensive jacket at the time of his death. Police could not confirm if he had been an exchange student.
“I think a lot of them were musicians because they always carried, like, guitars, some type of instruments with them,” said Chuck Johnson, referring to the group of Asian men.
Johnson said he had been in the store at the corner of 40th Avenue and 11th Street at the time of the crash.
“They had their own style of ways,” he said.
Police said that at 12:43 a.m., the NYPD cruiser was going eastbound on 40th Avenue when it hit the man trying to cross mid-block between 10th and 11th streets.
Johnson said he and a few other men ran out of the shop to see what had happened.
“He was laying right here with his face split open,” Johnson said.
EMS arrived shortly afterward and pronounced the man dead, police said, and the NYPD said the investigation into the accident was ongoing.
Last Thursday afternoon, Keasia Quarles-Esannason battled the brutal wind to keep a single white candle lit on 40th Avenue in memory of the man killed.
“If the cop was going on a call doing his job and this guy walks in the street and gets hit, it’s no one’s fault. Things happen that way. I just pray for both families,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes.
But Johnson also pointed to the lack of any traffic signal at the corner of 40th Avenue and 11th Street.
“You see how they fly up through here. There is no stop sign,” he said, explaining that he and other men had constructed their own stop sign one summer.
“We built the actual stop sign to slow these cars down because they fly through here like this is a speedway, like we are on the Autobahn or something,” he said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.