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Fatal accident in Sheepshead Bay

Too much gas: Witnesses say it looked like the driver hit the gas pedal instead of the break when she was backing into a parking spot on E. 19th Street, and as a result lurched up onto the curb to fatally strike a pedestrian on the sidewalk.
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An elderly woman is dead after a sport utility vehicle struck her on the sidewalk while attempting to parallel park near a school in Sheepshead Bay Tuesday.

Police identified the victim as Marlene Baharlias, 77, and eyewitnesses say she was strolling with a loved one along E. 19th Street between avenues T and U when the car lurched onto the sidewalk and struck her on March 18.

“She was walking on the sidewalk with her husband, the poor woman,” said Shlomo Hava, a neighbor who saw the accident unfold.

Hava said he wanted to help, but seeing her injuries, he knew there was little he could do.

“All her face was smashed — I was shocked,” he said.

Baharlias was hit at 2:21 pm, police say — just as school was letting out.

Locals said the end of the school day may have contributed to the fatal accident. Parents jockey for the position when picking up their kids, sometimes double- or triple- parking, one neighbor said.

“If you see a spot, its like a race to see who can get that spot,” said William Perry, who lives on the block. “Its just an accident waiting to happen.”

Paramedics rushed Baharlias to Coney Island Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival, officials said.

Witnesses said the driver remained at the scene and was the first on the phone to 911.

No charges have been filed, but the investigation is ongoing, according to police.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
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Reader Feedback

susan from sheepshead bay says:
The drivers of today have no respect for the people crossing the street...I'm a driver since I'm 18 and was taught people have the right of way...I live off Neck Road and sometimes I have to wait a long time to cross the street no one wants to wait to let anyone cross...we need a traffic light on Neck Road the stop signs mean nothing to some drivers...
March 24, 2014, 7 pm
Col from Bay Ridge says:
The pedestrians need to bear some responsibility too, it's not just the drivers. Half the time pedestrians are too engrossed in the smart phones to pay attention to what's going on around them. People need to cross at the green and not in between, perhaps they'd know that if English weren't there 4th language!
March 28, 2014, 9:23 am
Col from Bay Ridge says:
Correction: Their (not there).
March 28, 2014, 9:23 am
Col from Bay Ridge says:
Correction, if English weren't "their" 4th language.
March 28, 2014, 9:30 am

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