28-year-old cyclist fatally struck by cement truck in Brooklyn

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A 28-year-old woman riding a bicycle was fatally struck by a cement truck in Brooklyn Monday.

It happened just after noon at Boerum Street and Bushwick Avenue in Williamsburg.

"I ran out, and they were yelling, 'Somebody just got hit,'" witness Hamma Yafai said. "So we ran outside and we saw the whole thing, dead body."

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. She was identified by police as Devra Freelander.

The driver of the cement truck, a 70-year-old man, stayed at the scene and was visibly shaken.

"He said it wasn't his fault, because the girl was crossing from the sidewalk," Yafai said. "He has the green light for him to pass, and the girl went into the truck."

The crash happened just two blocks from the driver's home base.

"He didn't even see her," trucking company owner Tony Mastronardi said. "What he told me is that he looked in the mirror and he saw something shiny, so then he looked and he saw it was a wheel. So he pulled over and went back to look...Even the police, NYPD said we're not at fault, but it's still unfortunate that it happened."

The investigation is ongoing.

Also in Brooklyn, a memorial sign was put up Monday for 57-year-old Ernest Askew, another bicyclist who was killed in a crash on the corner of Chester and Sutter Avenues in Brownsville.

The fatality count in 2019 is now up to 15, and officials say that is already more bicycle deaths than in all of last year.

"Vision Zero cannot be a bumper sticker. It has to be a reality," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Mayor Bill de Blasio released the following statement:

"We are seeing a dangerous surge in cyclist deaths on our streets, and we are taking action. I have directed the NYPD to immediately launch a major enforcement action that will encompass every precinct and crack down on dangerous driving behavior like parking in bike lanes. At the same time, I have charged the Department of Transportation with developing a new cyclist safety plan to make biking in our city safer. No loss of life on our streets is acceptable. Last year was the safest year on record-and we have to keep pushing the envelope and increasing our efforts until we achieve Vision Zero."

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