• March 08, 2022

Lola Blair Killed in Auto-Pedestrian Accident on Einstein Loop in The Bronx, NY

UPDATE (March 24, 2022): News sources say police have arrested 62-year-old dump truck driver Vincent Francis in connection to this accident. Francis was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to use due care.

The Bronx, NY -- March 7, 2022, 76-year-old Lola Blair was struck and killed by a dump truck on Einstein Loop in the Co-op City area of The Bronx.

Authorities say the incident happened around 11:45 a.m. on Einstein Loop. Preliminary investigation suggests Blair was crossing the street on foot when a dump truck belonging to Riverbay Corporation, the corporate entity which runs Co-op City, made a left turn off the Hutchinson River Parkway East and hit her.

Blair suffered critical injuries in the accident and was transported to an area hospital, where she died a short time later.

According to reports, the truck's driver continued onward a short distance before circling around and going back to the scene.

The incident is still under investigation. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Lola Blair Accident on Einstein Loop in Co-op City

UPDATE (March 24, 2022): The news says the truck driver involved in this collision was identified and arrested. The charges against him sound like ones typically issued to a negligent driver who causes serious damage; does that mean that Riverbay will acknowledge their employee's misdeed and make things right with the victim's family? Little as I like to say it, I doubt things will be quite that simple.

People don't always realize how hard a company will fight against accepting liability after an accident. Under the legal concept of respondeat superior, or "let the master answer," the company may be considered responsible by proxy for any injuries their employee causes while on the job. However, the company isn't required to accept that responsibility without dispute, and they're likely to fight like hell to avoid it if they can.

I don't mean that as a specific jab at the company in Co-op City, but rather as an observation from decades of experience dealing with commercial truck accidents. Corporate entities have a great deal to lose if they're found liable for the damage done in an accident, so rather than take that lying down they will more likely send out their own investigators to find evidence that something--anything--else was actually responsible for the victim's injuries. People who believed their situations were airtight have been rudely shocked to see a jury convinced that sun glare, slippery roads, stray dogs running into the street, or even the victims themselves were somehow more responsible for the damage done than their employee's brief but devastating carelessness.

Even criminal charges brought against their driver aren't a guarantee that the company will accept civil liability. The best way to ensure they can't dodge or deflect responsibility for this tragic incident would be to gather evidence on the victim's behalf. Riverbay's investigators certainly won't be looking for ways to help her family, and the police only looked into it to see if crimes were committed. To ensure someone looks out for their interests it's best to work with an independent investigator--one with the experience and equipment needed to keep the company from walking away after their employee's actions took a life.

Lola Blair Killed in Auto-Pedestrian Accident on Einstein Loop in The Bronx, NY

ORIGINAL: I'm not a native New Yorker, but my understanding of Co-op City is that it's a huge sprawl of residential buildings making up a chunk of The Bronx. Riverbay Corp.'s website even calls it "the largest single residential development in the United States."

If the area's claim to fame is generally that it's crammed to the gills with people, does it not seem reasonable to think that anyone driving in that area--especially an employee of the company that runs the place--would be on extra high alert for foot traffic? That's how it seems to me, and yet here we have a dump truck that turned a corner and hit a pedestrian. On its face that sure seems like a negligent action that should have some consequences.

To be fair, there's still more investigation to do. A lot of factors have to be accounted for, like the exact timing of when the pedestrian entered the street and when the truck hit her. There are also environmental issues like visibility, weather and road conditions, any other traffic in the area at the time, whether the victim used a traffic signal or crosswalk while trying to get through the road, if both people were paying close attention to their surroundings, and many other details that could make a big difference.

Until those facts are in I'm definitely not pointing any fingers. I just find it curious that in one of the most densely-crowded residential areas of a hugely populous and heavily-foot-trafficked city, a professional truck driver hit a lady in broad daylight. I sure would love an explanation for that, and depending on what that explanation is I doubt I'm the only one who thinks some accountability should follow as well.

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