A 34-year-old Ridgewood woman was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer driver who was allegedly under the influence of drugs according to police, early Wednesday morning. The fatal accident took place near the intersection of 56th Road and 48th Street at around 8:45 p.m.
On Thursday, the woman was identified as 34-year-old Anna Rodriguez who lived in an apartment on Ridgewood’s Seneca Avenue.
Police initially received a call that a woman was struck while riding her bicycle. When they responded to the scene, she was observed to be lying in the roadway with trauma to her head and body. She taken from the scene by ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
A subsequent investigation revealed that the tractor trailer, being operated by 57-year-old Dennis Forceri of Miller Place, New York, struck the cyclist as he turned onto 48th Street.
As a result of the accident, the driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter, negligent homicide, driving while ability impaired: drugs, aggravated unlicensed operation, motor vehicle fail to yield to a bicycle, a motor vehicle violation and failure to exercise due care.
The drug the driver tested positive for, was reportedly cocaine.
Public Advocate Letitia James spoke out, following the incident a recent number of bicyclist fatalities:
“Yesterday, a cyclist was struck and killed by a tractor trailer in Maspeth, Queens, the latest traffic fatality in what has been a particularly tragic week and a half on our City’s streets,” James said. “Over the past eleven days, five pedestrians and one cyclist were killed by motor vehicles in New York City. We must continue to work together to achieve Vision Zero, which requires good street design, education, and enforcement. Too many innocent New Yorkers are dying on our City’s streets and sidewalks, and we have a moral and civil responsibility to use every tool in our arsenal to make our City safer.”