NEW SPRINGVILLE — After two of their co-workers were stuck and killed by a minivan while crossing Forest Hill Road on Thanksgiving, grieving friends took to the streets on Thursday to call on the city to make the road safer.
Family members and co-workers from the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Service Office (SIDDSO) who worked with victims Lizette Serrano, 59, of Arrochar, and Marion Anderson-Ryan, 47, of Bath Beach rallied along Forest Hill Road to ask for sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic lights to make the walk to the bus safer for pedestrians.
Serrano and Anderson-Ryan were walking across Forest Hills Road on Thanksgiving day to get the bus home after volunteering at the facility to prepare meals for patients when they were were struck and killed by a 2013 Honda Odyssey, police said.
The two woman were rushed to Staten Island University Hospital North, where they were pronounced dead. The 59-year-old driver remained on the scene, and there have been no arrests made.
There are currently no sidewalks or crosswalks on the east side of the two-lane Forest Hill Road where the SIDDSO office is located, and the bus is on the west side of the street, making it a dangerous journey those who work or travel there, Conroy said. Making matters worse, people typically speed along the thoroughfare, witnesses said.
"This could have been prevented," said Sheila Conroy, president of the union who helped organize the rally. "We really need to get this stuff done."
Conroy said staff — including Serrano and Anderson-Ryan — have complained about the dangers of the road to the city's Department of Transportation for years, but to no avail. Protesters said they hope officials finally listen after the tragedy.
Robert O'Hare, a lawyer representing Anderson-Ryan's family, said the DOT was studying the area and the family was looking in to a possible lawsuit against the city.
The DOT did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
But for Lizette Serrano's son Miguel, who used to work at the facility, he just hopes that the street gets the improvement it needs.
He said he always knew it would take a tragedy to get the safety measures added to the street, but never thought it would be his mother.
"All our complaints went on deaf ears," Serrano said. "People said it would take a tragedy to change it, I didn't think it would hit home."