BY THE VILLAGE SUN | A 69-year-old woman was critically injured in a hit and run by an e-biker going the wrong direction in a bike lane in Murray Hill on Friday.
According to police, the woman was crossing the avenue at 38th Street and Second Avenue at 7:37 a.m. on Sept. 15 when she was struck by the cyclist, who was heading northbound in the bike lane — the wrong way on the one-way, southbound avenue.
As of Sunday around 4:30 p.m., the victim was still listed in critical condition. A local doorman said the victim was connected with the United Nations in some way — but that could not be confirmed, and police did not supply any further information about the woman.
Police have installed an electric signboard in the bike lane at the location asking for help in tracking down the hit-and-run cyclist. On Sunday afternoon, cyclists were whizzing around the sign — around half of them on higher-speed, electric-powered bikes, the rest on traditional, pedal-powered two-wheelers.
Traffic on the streets is higher than usual in the Murray Hill area with the start of the U.N. General Assembly due to start on Mon., Sept. 18.
Police ask that anyone with information about the Murray Hill hit and run call the N.Y.P.D.’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stoppers Web site at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter at @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential. Tips leading to an arrest and indictment can result in rewards of up to $3,500.
Meanwhile, in an earlier incident, police said that on Aug. 17, Fernando Zabala Ochoa, 42, of Queens was arrested for fatally striking an elderly Penn South resident two months earlier on Fri., June 9, with his van just a block from her home.
Police have ID’d the victim as Barbara Josephson, 86, of 321 W. 24th St., a building in the limited-equity Chelsea co-op complex.
Josephson was struck around 1:41 p.m. at Eighth Avenue and W. 25th Street. According to the New York Police Department’s Highway District Collision Investigation Squad, Ochoa was driving a 2012 Ford E250 cargo van northbound on Eighth Avenue in a left-turn lane. As the vehicle approached the intersection and made a left turn onto westbound W. 25th Street, it struck Josephson as she was crossing from the northwest corner to the southwest corner. She was thrown to the ground and suffered head trauma. The driver remained at the scene. Josephson died the next day in the hospital from her injuries.
Ochoa was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian or bicyclist, driving without a license and failure to use due care.
As for who had the light, a police spokesperson said that’s part of the investigation.
Two older Chinatown women were killed earlier this month after also being struck on the streets — one by an apparent e-CitiBike rider who left the scene and another by an Access-A-Ride van. The CitiBike rider can be seen on a news video slowly walking his bike away from the scene — even as a responding police officer is standing nearby.
On Saturday night, an e-bike spontaneously combusted as a man was riding it in the East Village, but he managed to jump to safety and avoid injury.