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Upper East Side Stylist Run Down By Dump Truck

By Heather Grossmann | January 24, 2011 9:12pm | Updated on January 25, 2011 5:04pm

By Heather Grossmann, Olivia Scheck, Ben Fractenberg and Shayna Jacobs

DNAinfo Staff

UPPER EAST SIDE — A 35-year-old wardrobe stylist was fatally struck by a dump truck on the Upper East Side late Monday afternoon, police said.

Laurence Renard was crossing First Avenue at East 90th Street about 5:43 p.m. when a black, 2007 Kenworth dump truck turning left onto the avenue from East 90th Street hit her, police said.

When police arrived at the scene, they found Renard, who lived a block away on First Avenue near 91st Street, lying unconscious and unresponsive in the road. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The dump truck driver, Diego A. Tapia-Ulloa, 23, of Newark, N.J., called 911, identified himself at the scene and "has been very cooperative," prosecutors said. 

Diego Tapia-Ulloa, 23, was freed on $500 bail after his arraignment on Tuesday.
Diego Tapia-Ulloa, 23, was freed on $500 bail after his arraignment on Tuesday.
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DNAinfo/Shayna Jacobs

He was arraigned on two charges — one count of aggravated unlicensed operation (of a vehicle) and unlicensed driving — and was released on $500 bail after his court appearance Tuesday afternoon. 

It is unclear at this time whether prosecutors would pursue any other charges against Tapia-Ulloa pertaining to the untimely death of Renard.

"There is an active ongoing investigation into this fatality," Assistant District Attorney Anne Schwartz said.

A lawyer for Tapia-Ulloa, Michael Perkins, said he believes the license suspension was "taken care of prior to the tragic incident," and that the charge was issued in error.

His client, whose family was present in court on Tuesday, is so upset he's "barely holding it together," Perkins told reporters after the arraignment.

"It's a horrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the family," the lawyer added.

People at the scene Tuesday morning recalled a shocking accident that snarled pedestrian and vehicle traffic during Monday's evening rush hour.

"It was a big, tremendous dump truck," said Scott Davidson, 71, who was working at a nearby store when Renard was hit. "What a tragedy. It makes you sick to your stomach."

Renard's family had gathered to mourn at her Upper East Side home Tuesday morning, said a man who answered the buzzer at Renard's apartment. They were on their way to identify the body around 11 a.m.

Renard's father Serge Renard, a noted Miami hair stylist, had traveled to New York Tuesday morning, an employee at his salon said.

Famed photographer Bruce Weber, who worked with Renard on several projects over the years, said he was saddened to hear of the stylist's tragic death.

"She was a really lovely girl, who just had a lot of good energy and excitement about working in the fashion industry," Weber said. "She always just had a really nice way about herself."

Renard's Linkedin profile says she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology from 2003 to 2005, and her MySpace page features images of her work.

Renard was also a frequent voluteer at The Kabbalah Centre in Midtown, an employee confrimed Tuesday.

Flowers were left to memorialize Laurence Renard on a First Avenue sidewalk Tuesday.
Flowers were left to memorialize Laurence Renard on a First Avenue sidewalk Tuesday.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

She had also worked on projects for Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch, and was married to a restaurateur, her brother, Lionel Renard, told the Daily News.

In December, another accident involving a dump truck on the Upper East Side resulted in the death of 21-year-old Jason King, who was killed at the corner of East 81st Street and Madison Avenue.

His death resulted in calls for the reinstatement of Elle's law, which demands that anyone who strikes a pedestrian while driving recklessly have their license suspended.