Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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Off-Duty Police Officer Killed In Queens Car Crash

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An off-duty New York City police officer was killed Tuesday in an early-morning car crash in Queens.

Elisa Toro, 36, a 10-year veteran of the department and a mother of two, died after losing control of her Ford Focus just before 2 a.m. while driving east off the exit ramp of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

Police say Toro's car struck a guardrail and a cement barrier before it flipped over and crashed into a storefront.

The mother of two, who lived in the Bronx, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"She kept to herself. I’m very saddened by what happened. You know, she’s a hard worker. That’s all I can tell you. And may she rest in peace because this happened very sudden,” said neighbor Damaris Robles.

In 2011, at the same spot, an alleged drunk driver killed a pedestrian. A week and a half later, another driver lost control and was killed.

The following year, a taxi driver plowed into scaffolding at the same location.

The Department of Transportation says it made improvements, changing the traffic patterns off the bridge, installing rumble strips, putting up more speed restrictions and Jersey barriers to improve safety.

But one city council member says clearly that's not good enough.

“This is the third or fourth time that a car has flown into this very same store. Where on earth would we accept that as a reality? Where on earth would that happen and we still say this is perfectly safe, we’ve done everything we can do,” said Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Toro worked at the 17th Precinct in Midtown Manhattan, where purple bunting was put up Tuesday afternoon, and a flag flew at half staff.

Meanwhile, the construction workers repairing the storefront wonder how soon they'll be back after yet another crash.

"The original design of the bridge, the traffic went straight, now they have it curving over right at pedestrians so if that's everything they can do, they’re in bad shape,” said construction worker Richie Steffens.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris is calling for a complete overhaul of the exit ramp from the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and the lawyer for the stores that we crashed into are in complete agreement.

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