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Man dies in Oakland Gardens motorcycle crash

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Phil Corso and Christina Santucci

The dangerous intersection of Union Turnpike and Springfield Boulevard in Oakland Gardens claimed another life this week when a 21-year-old motorcycle driver blew a red light and crashed into a city bus, police said.

Mauricio Galdamez, of Jamaica, suffered serious body trauma during the collision early Tuesday morning before he was pronounced dead at Long Island Jewish Hospital, cops said. Prasad Edupuganti, a worker at the nearby Gulf gas station whose co-worker saw the aftermath of the accident, said the 2013 Yamaha motorcycle was totaled and Galdamez’s helmet was impaled in the bus’ window.

Emergency responders were called to the intersection around 1 a.m., when officers learned the bus had a green light heading north on Springfield Boulevard as the Jamaica man ran a red light and struck the side of the bus, the NYPD said.

The intersection where Union Turnpike meets Springfield Boulevard has become a hot spot for accidents, police said, and has been under the community’s microscope for years. Community Board 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said the number of incidents has gone down since the city installed a lefthand turn signal where the two busy roads meet, but the law can only do so much.

“People may think the city needs to do more there, but everyone has to obey the law first and foremost,” Seinfeld said. “Unfortunately, many times, it’s an error on the part of a driver or pedestrian.”

Seinfeld said soon after the accident she visited the 111th Precinct in Bayside, where Galdamez’s wrecked motorcycle sat. Although she was unaware of the crash at that time, she said she remembered marveling at how unlikely it seemed anyone could have survived the crash, judging by the damage.

The deadly motorcycle accident occurred more than four months after another Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus crushed 55-year-old Cheng-Chiu Fang as it was making a lefthand turn from 73rd Avenue onto Springfield Boulevard, cops said.

Just one year earlier, 50-year-old Mohinder Singh was struck and killed near the intersection while crossing Union Turnpike, police said.

Residents have complained that the intersection does not allow enough time for pedestrians to cross and its positioning creates inconvenient shadows in the early morning, making it difficult for drivers going southbound on Springfield Boulevard to see. Concerns over the size of the center median along Springfield Boulevard have also been a topic of discussion, but it has not been addressed.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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