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NYPD: Cyclist, 22, Struck by Van on 35th St. Has Died

July 27, 2018 By Tara Law

The 22-year-old cyclist who was struck by a van on 35th Street on Monday night has died, according to police.

Xellea Samonte, who lived on Shore Boulevard in the Ditmars section of Astoria, was biking east on 35th Street in a marked bike lane when she rode through a steady red light at the intersection at 23rd Avenue at around 11:00 p.m. and was struck by a 2008 Ford Econoline Van, police said.

Emergency responders arrived on scene soon afterward and found Samonte lying on the roadway with head and leg trauma.

She was rushed to Elmhurst General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on Tuesday.

The driver, a 28-year-old man, remained on the scene and was not injured.

No one has been arrested in the incident, but the police investigation remains ongoing.

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50 Comments

heidi

There are traffic lights on every crosswalk on 23 ave. Many cars speed to pass the lights before they turn red throughout the day and evening.

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D.

I deplore another fatality of a cyclist on NY streets. Extreme caution must be a sane practice at night or day, in New York City. Thinking out of the box: allow cyclists to use sidewalks at night. Teach cyclists that a cycling exercise high can mar judgement. Walk your bike after dark…
Set up bike storage lockers/vaults at key subway stations….a raised roadway….keep going, please.
As both a driver and pedestrian, I see both cautious bike riders and weirdos–and auto drivers share the same traits! I am terrified of a bike coming from “out of nowhere” and a collision. As a pedestrian, I could get killed. As a driver, I could kill someone.

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A

So sad. Constructive conversation definitely welcome. So much opportunity for improvement on all sides.

Unfortunately, many new contributing factors makes me think this will be more commonplace… so many more people living here, so many of them young and using take-out delivery bikes, the city promoting biking as an alternative to cars (ignoring potential consequences), citibike, so many more uber cars on the road, so many more package deliveries from trucks with no parking (we ignore the fact that practically every single delivery truck makes that delivery illegally double parked), so many new buildings being built with zoning that permits a 1 family house to be replaced with 8-12 units and no parking, so many streets in perpetual state of construction because of con ed, and those that aren’t under repair are a mine field to navigate by bike or car, so many questionable decisions on the part of DOT in “trying to make it better” (31st and Astoria Blvd come to mind), 114 precent without any off-street parking for their cars (so they park on the sidewalk), a public transportation system built and suited for a neighborhood that existed 100 years ago, so many trucks running through the neighborhood during rush hour, closed subway stations for repairs, city busses re-routed around construction and down quiet streets (most of the time speeding)… did i miss anything?

I see delivery bike and scooters weaving in and out of both ways traffic, ignoring signs all the time. Hell, they almost run me down weekly speeding on silently (as most are electric), but the sad part is that even if you are a contentious biker, you are in no way safe.

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A

… and the biggest of all (not withstanding any particular case). Sooo many drivers that should not be driving. Driving is a privilege for those that are suitable, not a right.

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Adam

The night this happened at around midnight I saw an NYPD van traveling on 35th St. with no headlights or taillights on. How can we believe anything the NYPD says about traffic safety when all their members are too dumb to obey the laws they’re supposed to enforce?

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rikki

11 pm ALL BLACK BIKE BACK CLOTHING NO HEADLIGHTS NO REFLECTORS, NO REFLECTING VEST………. LIKE UM HOW CAN WE SEE YOU????

I see this almost everyday im surprised more people dont die from being so stupid riding bikes

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Native New Yorker

Pull your head up out of your phone and you’ll see everything fine. It also helps if you slow down. It’s a public street, not a racetrack.

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charles a castro

42 thumbs down.. Do any of you fools drive at night. What this person is saying make 100% sense. People ride at night dressed like ninjas HTF are you supposed to see them. No reflectors, nothing?? You snow flakes need to grow a spine.

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billy

Other sites are saying she hit “front passenger side” of his van. Something is not adding up or making sense. They did not see each other? How fast were they going? Was someone turning? I do not like driving or walking that area. Its unsafe for all.

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Elizabeth

So just wondering, They claim there were no cameras or witnesses??? So who said he was doing 25 and who said the light was steady red? Did the driver make this statement? No further questions here!!!

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A

More traffic cameras are needed. It is a shame that de B is removing them from around schools. Cameras would not prevent these horrific situations from happening, but maybe the cameras would prevent people from acting carelessly. Who was at fault would at least would be known. A young life lost is sad.

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gianni

“Not counting this week’s crash, 10 people have been injured in collisions at 35th Street and 23rd Avenue since 2009, according to City Hall. In 2016, a motorist killed 88-year-old pedestrian Savas Maounis in the crosswalk at 23rd Avenue and 33rd Street, one block away.” Ticket the illegal parked cars and get rid of that market parking lot! Stop allowing people to illegally park and double park in that area when the mosque (a half block away) has service and daily daycare arrival/dismissal!!

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tom

So sad. On what side did she enter the intersection? On the side of the Amtrak corner or the bike shop across the street?

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Anthony

The driver killed the woman. That’s the only facts we know. The driver should absolutely be blamed because the driver killed someone. Cars are much more dangerous than a cyclist because, as this incident shows, they kill people. I ride my bike in this area all the time and it is very dangerous. You claim to tell others not to judge yet you are doing exactly that. Please understand that it is dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians in many areas of Queens.

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Bethany

Hi Anthony. Please stop running red lights. As a cyclist you are not above the law. Thank you and have a blessed day.

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Aria

Sure, blame us all for running red lights ( which we get ticketed for just like you, by the way).

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Buzzy

We do not know for sure the driver is at fault. Your statement is implying every driver is a killer. Just not logical.

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Alki

Then you’re part of the problem! You cyclists have destroyed NYC! The most inconsiderate, unlawful people on the road!

If you want to share the road, you need insurance and licenses, just like all the mistrust? Motorists do!

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Native New Yorker

Hey, Alki. Shouting isn’t going to solve this problem and neither is demonizing cyclists. Slow down and keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone so that this sort of thing doesn’t keep on happening.

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Jim

That’s exactly why cyclists and pedestrians need to be more cautious in the streets. Cars are more dangerous but pedestrians always seem to be not give a sh*t when crossing intersections. I blame them more than people who drive

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charles a castro

You make no sense whatsoever. “the driver killed the woman, that’s the only facts we know”. So by your own statement. How can do you know if the bicyclist didn’t run a red light, or a stop sign, or was riding reckless, etc. etc. Bike riders must obey every rule of the road that car obey. How many bike riders stop at red lights, stop signs, yeild to pedestrians Zeroooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

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Native New Yorker

The street grid in Astoria actually runs at an angle. The original news post said she was traveling northeast. They never said which direction the van was traveling on the avenue.

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Mariam

Everybody is blaming the driver like they were there and witnessed that. People with bikes and people walking NEVER stop for the light, they don’t mind crossing the streets even when the light isn’t green for them. I’m 100% positive that each one that asking for a prove and blaming the driver in the comments DOES NOT respect the rules and DOES NOT wait for no lights. I’m not against the young lady but come on people let’s be fair and think about it the other way around, you don’t know neither one of them so why you taking sides when you weren’t there. 99% the driver could’ve been in the hospital too if his car wheels flipped out, and all of you would’ve been blaming the girl for not stopping for the light. DO NOT JUDGE IF YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT HAPPENED. Hopefully the girl have a speed recovery. Best of luck for both of them

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Not Gabriel

The title of the article says that the girl is dead. But you go ahead and side with the driver on this one. Makes you look real empathetic. Sorry, meant pathetic.

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silent majority

READ… the cyclist rode thru a steady red light. should the driver stop at a green light for no reason. Cyclists are required to obey the same traffic laws and when one doesn’t this is the result.

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Astorian

Rule of thumb for all drivers:
Pedestrians, cyclist have the right of way all the time.
Weather you have a green light.
The speed limit on 23rd Avenue and 35th Streets is 25 mph. With the kind of injuries that Xellea Samonte sustained (head injury despite the fact that she is wearing a helmet) the driver of the van must have been over speeding.

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Raymond

Incorrect:
NY Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) – §1231 – Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles – Every person riding a bicycle ….. upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle. Rules of the City of N.Y.Jul 3, 2015

Bicycles have the follow the same traffic laws as cars. If you approach a red light, you are required to stop. A bicycle CANNOT LEGALLY drive through that red light because they believe they have the right of way. It is extremely sad about this girl passing away. But if she did in fact drive through a red light she is at fault.

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Raymond

First of all, it is extremely sad about the passing of Xellea. My condolences to her friend and family. But you are incorect:
NY Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) – §1231 – Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles – Every person riding a bicycle ….. upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle. Rules of the City of N.Y.Jul 3, 2015

Bicycles do not have the right of way. They are required to stop at red lights just like cars. They are required to follow ALL traffic laws. If Xellea did in fact ride through a red light, she was at fault. I am sorry she was hit and passed away, but you cannot blame the car just because her injury led to death.

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charles a castro

Astorian, only a complete and utter moron would make a comment like this. Teach your kids to go through red lights because “they have the right of way”. I think it’s a good way to get killed. First of all, bicyclist have to obey every rule that a motorist has to obey. Secondly, it is irresponsible to believe that just because a person has the right of way, that they can run across the GCP and that the cars will stop. The right of way is only good if the drivers sees, you, there is no malfunction, no inattention, other than that you will be run over and either buried, or in a wheelchair..

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Anonymous

Raymond, I said “Rule of the Thumb” it means common sense, read between the lines. You are citing a law. Always remember when you drive you have the potential to get into an accident and kill
someone.

Mariam

I hope she Rest In Peace.. but seriously you’re the pathetic one, you sitting home didn’t move a finger to know the truth but you blaming a guy that you don’t know and you have no idea how is he like! You don’t know how he might be feeling now. I’m pretty sure he feeling guilty right now for something that he did not do on purpose so I’m also pretty sure that he doesn’t need you to write a useless comment like this.

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Rob

The problem is that the NYPD has judged the person killed without an investigation; that’s why everyone is so angry. This is completely wrong and must be stopped. Too many times NYPD has blamed the victim, typically by just getting the driver’s own account, and then new evidence comes to light disproving the NYPD claims. Reporters need to stop parroting NYPD claims and wait for the Collision Investigation Squad to complete its work.

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NYPD Conspiracy

What’s in it for the NYPD to lie about this?
What’s in it for the police to lie? I don’t get your logic.
Making an arrest is no big deal to them? They do it all the time.
Therefore, I don’t get your outrage.
I wonder if the NYPD said the motorist was at fault whether you would be making such a fuss and doubting the cops and the media. I doubt it. Just a hunch.

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Native New Yorker

The police don’t need to outright lie but they have zero incentive to canvas the surroundings, looking for witnesses or surveillance cameras, especially because she was still alive at the scene. All they had to do was ask the driver what happened and the driver can say, “She ran the light.” Police fill out the report and move on with the rest of the shift.

Now, the woman has died and most likely there will be a scramble for surveillance footage but most cameras record on a loop. If there was footage, most likely it’s been recorded over by now.

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Rob

July 31st and it turns out a witness saw the crash, offered to be interviewed by NYPD, and was ignored. Streetsblog has the story.

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Rob

I don’t understand it either, but many cops seem to want to talk to reporters. And these reporters just parrot what the cops say. And too often these initial comments by cops are just wrong, and end up blaming the victim who is dead or dying on the street. The cops should just say, ‘no comment until the investigation is completed.’ Period.

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Melodie Bryant

And the problem of course, is that the victim cannot speak for herself. The only witness the police usually speak to is the driver and what are they going to say? We do indeed need more cameras. There is actually video of this, but owner is out of town for a month on vacation. Doubtful it will still be there when he returns.

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charles a castro

Where do you get this theory from? As I see it, most of the time when there is an crime committed the police will lock the driver up. However, since you don’t have a clue what you are talking about, I will clarify it. Normally, people do not get arrested when they are involved in accidents. Unless, there are contributing factors, i.e. DWI, drugs, reckless, etc. etc. That is why it is called an accident. Accidents happen, everyday.

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charles a castro

You’re 100%
right about both the pedestrians and bicyclist… The girl was killed.

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