Families Of Bronx River Parkway Accident Victims File Claims Against The City And State Of New York
NEW YORK, July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — On July 23, 2012, the law firm of Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz filed Notices of Claim with the City of New York and Notices of Intention to File Claim with the State of New York with regard to the April 29, 2012 accident on the southbound Bronx River Parkway at East 180(th) Street between exits 5 and 6 in the Bronx which resulted in the deaths of seven people. The accident occurred when the SUV driven by Maria Gonzalez struck the center median, veered across three lanes of traffic and struck the curb on the western edge of the roadway causing the vehicle to be launched over the side of the bridge and fall approximately 59 feet to the ground below killing the driver and six members of her family. Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz represents the estates of five of the passengers in this horrific tragedy.
Investigation by Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz has revealed a long history of similar accidents in this area as well as actual knowledge by both City and State officials of the dangers involving the design of the Bronx River Parkway in this area. Specifically, in the 1990s, the engineering firm of Hardesty and Hanover was retained to study this area of the Bronx River Parkway and reported, for over 15 years, that the geometry of the roadway was unsafe and in violation of numerous safety standards including the New York State Highway Design Manual and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Among the unsafe conditions documented by the engineers, were the narrow lane width, the lack of shoulders, and the 18 inch high curb, which had the effect of causing a vehicle to be catapulted over the edge of the curb instead of being contained in the roadway as the highway-standard “Jersey Barriers” are designed to do. Jersey Barriers were installed next to the curb at issue shortly following this tragic accident.
Investigation also revealed that the egregious conduct by both the City and the State in ignoring these hazards for so many years was compounded in 2007 when, in response to the 2006 accident where 5 people were killed in virtually the same location as a result of a cross-over accident, Jersey Barriers were placed on the center median. It is particularly troubling that the center median curb that was replaced in 2007 was the exact same shape and height as the side curb that resulted in the tragedy of April 29, 2012. Thus, the City and State knew in 2006 that this type of curb was launching vehicles into oncoming traffic and specifically decided to replace these dangerous curbs with Jersey Barriers, but only on the median. No valid reason exists as to why they would not replace the exact same curb a mere 34 feet (3 lanes of traffic) away which they knew was capable of launching vehicles over the edge of the bridge.
Christopher L. Sallay, Esq.
Cell: (914) 238-3999
Fax: (212) 425-7513
SOURCE Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz