Car kills third pedestrian this year


A car killed an 84-year-old man on Van Cortlandt Avenue West last week, just days after a woman was fatally struck herself on the Major Deegan Expressway. 

Jacob Bavdaz was crossing from the southbound side of Van Cortlandt on March 19, police said, when a driver in a Lincoln Town Car made a left turn off Sedgwick Avenue, knocking Bavdaz to the pavement. 

The Slovenian immigrant, who lived less than a block from the accident, was rushed by ambulance to Saint Barnabas Hospital and treated for head trauma. Three days later, however, Bavdaz succumbed to his injuries. 

Bavdaz is the third pedestrian to die in the 50th precinct just this year, despite only one such fatality in late 2016. 

Police aren’t sure why pedestrian fatalities have increased in such a short amount of time. They said many pedestrian accidents — especially those that involve pedestrians on expressways where people are not allowed to walk — are hard to prevent. 

The Van Cortlandt and Sedgwick intersection has been a topic of discussion in the past for local elected officials who have criticized the placement of a traffic island on Van Cortlandt, which they have said is too large and cuts off part of the westbound lane, and have called on the transportation department several times to reduce the size of the concrete slab.  

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has written to several transportation officials since 2014, even once taking former Bronx transportation commissioner Constance Moran on a field trip to the troubled island. 

In a follow-up letter dated Nov. 17, 2014, Moran admitted the island had been incorrectly installed, pledging to fix the issue. 

However, that work never happened, and Dinowitz said his later communications have been met with silence.  

Last November, another pedestrian was fatally struck at an intersection where the transportation department pledged to do work. 

That victim, a 76-year-old woman, was crossing Broadway near West 246th Street where officials had installed — but never turned on — a streetlight and crosswalk. 

While police at the time said no one could be sure if the traffic light would have prevented the accident, the system was activated shortly after the accident. 

The traffic island on Van Cortlandt does not appear to have the same issues as the Broadway corridor had when streetlights were installed, but it is too large and cuts into the left lane on the westbound side, the same lane the Lincoln driver was turning into when he struck Bavdaz.