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Volume 77, Number 17 | Sept. 26 - Oct. 2, 2007

Villager photo by Elizabeth Proitsis

Ongoing road work at W. Houston St. at Sixth Ave., part of the Houston St. reconstruction project, adds to the danger of the intersection.

Woman, 28, is killed by truck while crossing W. Houston St.

By Lincoln Anderson

A woman walking across W. Houston St. at Sixth Ave. on Tuesday morning was struck and killed by a truck that was fleeing from a traffic dispute.

According to police, Hope Miller, age 28, of 88-29 54th Ave. in Queens, was hit by the truck at 7:13 a.m. She was removed to St. Vincent’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. The truck driver, Roger Smiley, 48, of 895 Knickerbocker Ave. in Brooklyn, was also removed to St. Vincent’s and was reported in stable condition.

A police spokesperson said Smiley was charged with operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest.

Jonathan Geballe, president of the W. Houston St. Block Association, said he had just gotten up on Tuesday morning when he looked out his window and saw police cars and fire trucks speeding to the scene. He rushed out to find his building superintendent, Bob Lisnak, already there. Although Lisnak hadn’t actually witnessed the accident, he told Geballe he had seen the woman lying injured on the street, that she had been jerking, then went still.

Geballe said firefighters from the Engine 24/Ladder 5 firehouse across the street had tried to revive her. She was put into an ambulance, which drove off without its siren on, indicating she was probably already dead, Geballe said. The woman was reportedly wearing blue jeans, a white shirt and a red-and-blue sweater.

According to witness accounts, corroborated by police, the tragic incident unfolded when a truck that had been stopped on the east side of Sixth Ave. by Spring St. was hit by another truck. The driver of the second truck, Smiley, tried to speed off as the driver of the first truck yelled after him to give him his information. Smiley then turned right onto Houston St., striking the woman. Geballe said a bloodstain was left in the Houston St. crosswalk about 10 feet from the intersection’s southeast corner.

Geballe said that making matters more dangerous is the ongoing Houston St. renovation project, which has cluttered the intersection with concrete barriers, metal street plates and directional signs and chopped up the street and medians.

In June 2006, there was another fatality associated with the reconstruction project when Derek Lake, 23, was killed at LaGuardia Pl. and Houston St. after his bike slipped on a metal street plate and he feel under an 18-wheel truck.

The Houston St. reconstruction project started in August 2005 and was expected to take two and a half years to complete. However, a news report on Tuesday after Miller’s death said the city now is trying to expedite the work and finish by this Halloween.

It wasn’t immediately known why Miller was in the Village or crossing Houston St.

A police spokesperson said Smiley was charged with leaving the scene of an accident because he sped off from his collision with the other truck. According to witnesses, Smiley did not drive away after hitting Miller. The spokesperson said he didn’t know if Smiley had been physically injured, but that when suspects are found under the influence of drugs, they are typically removed to a hospital.

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