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Following wave of hit-and-run deaths in Western Queens, Van Bramer aims to get tough on those who flee

Area where KK was killed

Location where Karen Pheras was killed

Sept. 4, 2014 By Christian Murray

In the past year, three pedestrians were run down and killed while crossing the streets of Western Queens. On all three occasions, the driver fled. And on all three occasions, no one has been caught.

This was the story behind the death of Luis Bravo, 19, who was killed last September crossing Broadway in Woodside; as well as Karen Pheras, 20, who was killed around the same time crossing Queens Plaza North; as well as Kumar Ragunath, 64, who was struck and killed in March, crossing Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.

All three dead, with their grieving relatives not knowing what happened.

In the wake of these incidents, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer introduced legislation earlier this year calling for tougher penalties on drivers who flee the scene. The bill was discussed at a Transportation Committee hearing in city hall yesterday and the families of some of the victims spoke.

“It’s something you never get over,” Maribel Egipciaco, a relative of Luis Bravo, told CBS News yesterday.”The pain is unbearable, the pain stays,” she said, adding that she hopes stiffer penalties could prevent future tragedies.

The bill would impose a maximum “civil” penalty of $5,000 for any driver who hits someone and takes off.

“We need to establish penalties that deter people from the leaving the scene,” Van Bramer said. “People should stop and call the police and see if they can help…leaving them to die is brutal and cruel and people need to be punished.”

Currently this is no “civil” penalty in New York if someone leaves the scene of a hit-and-run.

Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers.

“When Luis Bravo was struck, we don’t know if he was alive afterward,” Van Bramer said. “Maybe he could have been saved if he got medical attention in time.”

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5 Comments

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Den

How about putting up some cameras and making sure that they are noticeable to drivers. That would make them pay attention. Try to prevent accidents instead of focusing on catching the perpertraitors.

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me

how about making sure drivers have a VALID NYS drivers license…1/2 the idiots on the road don’t even have a drivers license and shouldnt even have a license to walk let alone drive…almost got hit by a woman in a black burka covering EVERYTHING but 1 inch of her eyes…really????

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Vam Bramer ! Just retired pleaseee!!!

Hey how about adding more road bumps, stop signs, traffic lights, so this NEVER HAPPEND AGAIN.
This brilliant minds, instead of preventing this to happend, they increase the penalty! That doesn’t work for this type of accidents. No one wakes up thinking, hey lets kill some pedestrians today!, oh noo hold on, maybe not, because Van Bramer increase the penalties, damm!
This are ACCIDENTS that needs to be prevented. WORK ON THAT!

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