A 12-year-old girl was struck and killed at a notoriously dangerous Lower East Side intersection Friday, prompting a renewed outcry from elected officials for a safety overhaul at the crossroads.
The girl, Dashane Santana, was struck by a van on her way home from school, as she crossed the busy intersection of Clinton and Delancey streets just after 2:30 p.m. on Friday, according to police. She dropped her bookbag, and bent down to pick it as the traffic light turned green. That's when she was struck by a 2006 Toyota Minivan traveling eastbound on Delancey Street, according to reports.
When police got there, they found the girl lying on the ground, severely injured. She was rushed to Downtown Beekman Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
The driver of the van, a 58-year-old man, remained at the scene and was not arrested for the death, which police are ruling a tragic accident.
Delancey Street, at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge, is no stranger to traffic accidents. Between 2008 and 2010, 523 car accidents occurred at the nearby intersection of Delancey and Essex streets, according to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. During that same two-year time period, more than 130 cyclists and pedestrians were struck on Delancey, according to Transportation Alternatives.
Stringer joined other elected officials in calling for an immediate Department of Transportation review of Delancey Street. Among the ideas floated are increased pedestrian crossing times, expanded medians, and improved signage directing pedestrians to the safest crossing areas. The traffic light were Santana crossed is too short, locals told DNAInfo.
A young life ends too soon
Santana, a sixth-grade student at Castle Middle School on Henry Street had just applied to the Juilliard School, her mother Shamika Benjamin told the New York Post. She played the flute and the piano and dreamed of becoming an actress.
She was overjoyed when she was landed a spot as an extra in “Broken City,” a Russell Crowe drama which filmed on the Lower East Side last fall.
The girl, who lived in the nearby Jacob Riis II Houses, was headed to a doughnut shop with a group of friends for an after-school snack when she was struck and killed.