The intersection of Tuesday’s accident. Photo of MTA driver Paul Roper
Longtime MTA bus driver Paul Roper has been arrested for Tuesday’s tragic hit and run of an elderly Brooklyn woman crossing Fulton and Sackman streets in Ocean Hill.
Video surveillance footage acquired by NBC New York — too graphic to release in full — shows an out-of-service bus waiting for traffic to slow before taking a left turn. The footage cuts out moments before the bus hit 70-year-old Carol Bell, seen gingerly crossing the street with the help of her walker.
Ms. Bell, a homeless shelter resident of nearby Magnolia House Women’s Shelter, was on her way to a methadone program, and had just waved to a local grocer, as she did most mornings, when the bus plowed into her, according to the New York Times.
The video shows the bus briefly stopping before driving on to the East New York Depot, where a fresh driver picked up the vehicle and resumed its normal route.
Witnesses reported that the woman had been cut in half, according to the Daily News.
The incident, which occurred at an intersection which lacks a crosswalk, has prompted Mayor de Blasio to reiterate his Vision Zero vows to increase driver awareness and end pedestrian deaths.
This disturbing collision comes just months after a similarly tragic traffic fatality — when 66-year-old pastry shop owner was hit and killed crossing Atlantic Avenue. Indeed, while seniors represent just 13 percent of New York City’s population, they account for 39 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
Driver Paul Roper was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian, failure to exercise due care, and leaving the scene of an accident (respectively a misdemeanor, traffic violation, and felony). Some of Roper’s family and friends have staunchly defended his innocence.
It’s possible there was a blind spot. Although how he could have not seen Ms. Bell, and why he stopped and then drove on, remains unclear.
[Source: NYT | Photo: Google Maps | Facebook]