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Elmhurst Civic Activist Killed in Car Crash on Astoria Boulevard: NYPD

By Katie Honan | January 11, 2016 8:50am

EAST ELMHURST — A longtime civic leader was killed Sunday after crashing his car on Astoria Boulevard, police said.

Robert Valdes-Clausell, 56, a board member of the Newtown Civic Association, crashed his car into a concrete barrier on Astoria Boulevard at 77th Street just before 1 p.m. Sunday, according to authorities.

A preliminary investigation found he was driving east on Astoria Boulevard when he lost control of his Ford Explorer, crossed three lanes of traffic and hit the barrier in the left lane near 77th Street, according to the NYPD, which is continuing to investigate. 

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Valdes-Clausell lived in Elmhurst and worked to preserve his neighborhood's rich history.

"Robert was involved in numerous organizations and was a strong advocate for the community," City Councilman Danny Dromm said.

"As a board member of the Newtown Civic Association, Robert fought to keep historical buildings in Elmhurst intact, advocated for the reopening of the Elmhurst LIRR and was involved in many other worthy civic activities.  His presence will be sorely missed."