By Juan Soto
Woodside community activists, neighbors and elected officials asked the driver of a hit-and-run accident in Queens Boulevard that left a man fighting for his life in a hospital to surrender to authorities.
“If you hit someone, you have to stop,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said during a rally last Friday at Queens Boulevard and 60th Street, near the scene of the hit-and-run that took place the day before.
Police said the victim was crossing the boulevard about 1:30 a.m. when he was hit by a westbound SUV.
“This person left a young man to die,” said the lawmaker, who reminded drivers that the 10-lane boulevard “is not a highway.”
Kids from the nearby Towers Play and Learn School hold signs at the rally. Some of them read, “Turn yourself in,” “I cross the street every day, please slow down,” and “Please, stop on the crosswalk.”
Van Bramer said the unidentified victim of the accident was a man in his 20s or 30s.
The councilman and community advocates were joined by Capt. Brian Hennessy of the 108th Police Precinct.
Police installed a big digital sign near the scene of the crash with information about the accident.
“There is someone out there with a guilty conscience,” said Van Bramer. “This person needs to come forward.”
Jerry Lamonte, from the nearby Big Six Towers complex building, said “accidents are unfortunate, but what it’s not unfortunate is leaving the scene of an accident.”
The community asked for more safety measures in the boulevard.
“Queens Boulevard is referred as the boulevard of death, but it is surrounded by life,” said the legislator.
“This is a very dangerous arterial roadway,” said Cristina Furlong, of Make Queens Safer, an organization calling for safer streets in the borough.
Also at the rally was Denise Smith, of Community Board 2 and a resident of the Big-Six Towers.
“We can’t tolerate this,” she said. “Enough is enough.”
The councilman said the bill he authored and was recently passed by the City Council and will go into effect Dec. 29. It will make drivers who leave the scene of an accident liable for up to $10,000 in civil penalties.
“This is unacceptable behavior,” Van Bramer said. “It’s a crime.”
Van Bramer said cops from the 108th Precinct have doubled the number of DWI arrests so far this year, and the number of speeding tickets issued was up about 30 percent.
“We want to make Vision Zero a reality,” the lawmaker said.
Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.