Saturday, June 24, 2017

ANOTHER UNDERRIDING FATALITY: Reckless driver Steven Narvaez, 28, of Woodside killed, passenger injured after his 2013 Toyota Corolla sedan blew a red light and collided with a 2007 Freightliner municipal waste truck at the intersection of Skillman Avenue and Queens Boulevard

Saturday, June 24, 2017 04:01PM

A man was killed in Long Island City Saturday morning in a collision with a truck.

Around 6 a.m., police responded to the intersection of Skillman Avenue and Queens Boulevard.

According to the New York City Police Department, a 28-year-old man, identified as Steven Narvaez, of Woodside, was found unconscious with severe body trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His 17-year-old female passenger also was injured. She was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, where she is critical.

A 2013 Toyota Corolla sedan, was traveling west on Skillman Avenue, approaching Queens Boulevard. It ran into a 2007 Freightliner tractor that was traveling northbound on Queens Boulevard, heading toward Skillman Avenue.

The sedan hit the truck, then came to a rest underneath it.

The truck operator remained on the scene and was uninjured.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing. Investigators believe Steven Narvaez blew a red light at the intersection before colliding with the tractor trailer, the NYPD said.

Underridding deaths are very common.  So many people have been killed because the cars lodge underneath the trucks that have no barriers to prevent the underridding.  This 2007 Freightliner did not have the mandated side guards.


A Queens driver was killed and his girlfriend critically injured after he blew through a red light early Saturday — and T-boned an oncoming tractor-trailer, cops said.

The 2013 Toyota Corolla sedan plowed into the 18-wheel municipal waste truck at the intersection of Queens Blvd. and Skillman Ave. just before 6 a.m.

Reckless driver Steven Narvaez, 28, of Woodside, was pronounced dead at the scene after his white car became wedged beneath the truck that was traveling with the right of way. The Toyota was shredded in the fatal wreck.

By the time EMS arrived, Narvaez — whose body remained in the driver’s seat — was already gone, police said.

The incident occurred after this white sedan ran a red light at the Queens Blvd. intersection in Long Island City early Saturday. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

The passenger, a 17-year-old woman, was rushed to Elmhurst General Hospital in critical condition. Cops responded to the scene of the fatal crash after receiving a 911 call.

Distraught relatives of Narvaez said he and the young woman started dating in April. The teen was breathing on her own but remained in critical condition, according to the relatives.

Some two dozen friends and family members gathered outside Narvaez’s Queens apartment in an impromptu memorial service. The dead man’s brokenhearted mother wept as she spoke of her loss.

An unidentified passenger (l.) was injured in a car crash that killed the driver, Steven Narvaez.

“My only son, my dear boy,” said Lilliana Medina, 63, through sobs. “Why God? He was such a good boy. He was too young! I want my son back! Why him?”

Medina said she and her son were planning a July trip to visit family in Colombia.

Narvaez, a maintenance worker at LaGuardia Airport, recently cut back his hours to take care of his mom. She was still recovering from recent back surgery.
Lilliana Medina (l.), mother of Narvaez, who was killed in the crash, is inconsolable as a friend attempts to comfort her. (Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News)

His cousin Chris Piedrahita said he considered the younger Narvaez like a kid brother over the years.

“We shared clothes, sneakers,” he recalled. “We slept on the same bed, we played video games, we grew up together. This ain’t right.” The truck driver stayed at the scene in Long Island City, and was not charged with any crime in the fatal wreck. Cops said the investigation of the crash was continuing.

Hundreds of people die needlessly in underride crashes every year. According to an analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, truck underride crashes caused 228 deaths in 2014 — the latest year for which the agency has information. More than 2,200 people died in such crashes in the 10-year period through 2014. Because of gaps in federal data, it's likely that the truck underride crash death toll is much larger.

The rear underride guard met the current federal underride standard. But in 2011 and again just a few months before the crash in 2013, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the underride guards of eight major trailer manufacturers. In 2011, none of the eight were able to stop underride on the outer edges of the truck even though they met the federal standard. By 2013, only one company had improved its guard to more adequately protect the occupants of passenger cars in such a crash.

U.S. safety regulators have debated for years on how to prevent the tragedy of underride fatalities — including the possibility of using side guards on trucks — since 1969. Many of these deaths could have been prevented had better underride protection been mandated. So why is NHTSA, which acknowledges the problem and whose own data demonstrate that underride kills thousands of Americans, taking so long to solve this problem?
The solution is technologically possible, and we petitioned NHTSA in May 2014 to initiate underride rulemaking:
  • In July 2014, NHTSA began rulemaking to improve rear underride on tractor-trailers. Its proposed rule in December 2015 was too weak and ineffective. We organized an Underride Roundtable at IIHS on May 5, 2016. At that event, IIHS crash tested an improved guard. Now there are four manufacturers making guards that prevent deadly underride situations across the full lengths of the underguard — proving that it is possible to save lives. Following that gathering of almost 100 people, a consensus recommendation for a more stringent rule was submitted to NHTSA on last week.
  • In July 2015, NHTSA responded to our petition to require underride guards on currently exempt Single Unit Trucks (SUTs), such as dump trucks, garbage haulers, concrete mixers, tank trucks, trash trucks and local delivery trucks. NHTSA took the first step to discuss underride protection for these trucks because research has shown that there are many deaths due to smaller vehicles colliding with the rear ends of SUTs. This needs to move forward to a final rule.
  • Our 2014 petition also called for federal standards to be issued for side guards (as well as front override). NHTSA indicated that it would consider this at a later date. Nothing has been done thus far. There is no federal mandate to put underride guards on the sides of trucks.
Yet for years, engineers have been developing solutions to the problem of deadly side underride.

In fact, some cities are out in front of federal regulators. They don't want their citizens dying from a preventable cause. New York and Boston are installing side guards on city-owned trucks, such as garbage trucks. They also are requiring companies that contract with the cities to install side guards to protect pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle riders.