Last week, a driver struck and killed 9-year-old Giovanni Ampuero as he crossed Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights. The child was walking in the crosswalk holding his Mother’s hand, and had the right of way. The driver left the scene of the crash and stopped ten blocks away after being chased down by another motorist. He has been charged with leaving the scene, failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care.
On Saturday, community members joined Giovanni’s family to mourn the child’s death and to demand action to address the ongoing safety crisis on Northern Boulevard. The vigil and march were led by Giovanni’s parents, grandmother, and brothers. Congressman Joseph Crowley, City Council Member Danny Dromm, and other community leaders spoke about the need for policy and design changes to make the city’s streets safer for everyone. We thank the 115th Precinct for facilitating safe passage of the march.
Make Queens Safer, the Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee, and Families For Safe Streets called for the following actions:
- The NYC Council needs to adopt the Vision Zero Design Standard to ensure that streets are designed by default to prevent dangerous driving and prioritize safety.
- The NYS Legislature must expand the use of Speed Safety Cameras and enact legislation this session in Albany.
- The NYS Legislature must increase penalties against hit-and-run drivers.
- The DOT/DOE must create Comprehensive School Traffic Safety Plans to ensure safe passage to and from school for all NYC school children.
- NYC needs to create a program providing support for families/victims of traffic violence via the office of the Public Advocate.
Here is some media coverage of the vigil:
Streetfilms, “Vigil for Giovanni Ampuero, 9-yr old killed on Northern Blvd” (May 6, 2018)
Bill Parry, “Vigil scheduled for boy killed in Jackson Heights hit-and-run,” Times Ledger (May 4, 2018)
Univision, “Con una emotiva vigilia, homenajean al niño peruano que murió tras ser atropellado en Queens” (May 5, 2018)
Shirley Chan, “Vigil held for 9-year-old boy killed in Queens hit-and-run,” PIX11 (May 6, 2018)
“Family calls for action during vigil for boy killed by hit and run driver in Queens,” ABC7 (May 6, 2018)
Jenna Bagcal, “‘One child’s death is too many’: After deadly Queens hit-and-run, advocates & lawmakers seek safety changes,” QNS.com (May 7, 2018)