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Woman on Scooter Killed by Tractor Trailer Truck on Sixth Avenue

By  Dan Rivoli and Andrea Swalec | August 27, 2012 9:40am | Updated on August 27, 2012 5:24pm

WEST VILLAGE — A 58-year-old woman on a small metal scooter was struck and killed by a tractor trailer on Sixth Avenue that dragged her under its wheels for two blocks Monday morning, officials said.

Jessica Dworkin, 58, was riding her scooter westbound across Sixth Avenue at West Houston Street when the massive vehicle made a right turn from Houston onto Sixth Avenue and plowed into her just before 9 a.m., the NYPD said.

Dworkin was caught in one of the rear tires of the massive truck and dragged for about two blocks.

The driver of the truck, which belongs to Liedtka Trucking, was finally flagged down several blocks away at Minetta Lane, officials said.

Phil Liedtka, the owner of the Trenton, N.J., company, was not immediately available for comment.

A woman was fatally struck by a truck in the West Village on August 27, 2012.
A woman was fatally struck by a truck in the West Village on August 27, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Nikkita Venugopal

"Many cars were honking to tell him to stop," Miguel Guerrero, the superintendent at 290 Sixth Ave. said of the driver.

"People were crying in Spanish and English and running into the middle of the street to stop [the truck]," said Lady Guerrero, who was with Miguel during the accident.

Dworkin, who lived at 128 Thompson Street, was pronounced dead on scene.

The truck driver, who has not been identified, was not expected to be charged, police said.

Police sources said they believed Dworkin was hit by the truck's back wheels when it was halfway through completing the turn onto Sixth Avenue. 

"The rear wheels cut much sharper to the curb than the front of the vehicle," a source said.

James Tarangelo, 60, a friend of Dworkin's for 12 years, described her as friendly and helpful, recounting the time she helped look after his dogs while he cared for a sick relative.

"She was one of the nicest people you'd ever meet," Tarangelo said. "She'd feed the birds and talk to the trees."

He said she zipped around the neighborhood on her scooter, and had ditched her old one because she kept falling over due to its small wheels.

Store owners in the area knew Dworkin as good-natured and eccentric.

Michael Robinson, manager of Peter Hermann, a leather goods store on Thompson Street, remembered how excited she was when she first got a scooter three years ago.

"She was a fixture in the neighborhood," he said.

Alexis Field, manager of children's boutique store Bundle, said Dworkin had a "child-like spirit" and a love of vintage clothing.

"New Yorkers are a little too literal sometimes and she took people out of that," Field said.

Community Board 2 Chairman David Gruber sent his condolences to the victim and her family. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with this poor victim and her family because of his horrific accident. I know the police will investigate it fully and find out exactly what happened."

The city is in the midst of a $60 million Houston Street rehabilitation project to fix a slew of pedestrian hazards, as well as replacing sewer and water mains.

The renovations are slated to be finished by summer 2014, following a year-long delay in completing the project due to complications with cables and pipes.

The last pedestrian fatality at the intersection occurred September 2007, when a truck hit 28-year-old Queens woman, Hope Miller.

In addition to the fatality, there have been 21 pedestrian crashes at the intersection between 1995 and 2008, according to Crashstat.org, a project run by the pedestrian advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, which said it was the most recent data available.

Additionally, there were 17 non-fatal vehicular accidents involving bicyclists.