Police traffic investigators said the driver of the SUV involved was traveling at almost 70 miles per hour, lost control, struck a concrete barrier, over-corrected and sent the vehicle over the guardrail where it plunged almost 60 feet to the ground, killing everyone inside.
This particular stretch of the Bronx River Parkway was the scene of another traffic fatality caused when that vehicle also plunged over the guard rail. In fact, three sections of the parkway in the Bronx, including one at or near the accident site, are on the state Transportation Department’s 5 Percent List, a federally mandated report of locations “exhibiting the most severe highway safety needs.”
The state is likely taking a good hard look at this section of road, possibly planning to make at least some modifications to improve safety for all drivers who use it.
The state Department of Transportation’s only comment was an email message that said, “We are working closely with all agencies involved to determine the cause of this tragic accident.”
On the highway, just before the accident site, is a sign that warns of “Limited Sight Distance” on the six-lane parkway, which runs north-south between the south Bronx and central Westchester County.
The accident was the second in the past year where a car fell off the same stretch of the parkway; the earlier accident wasn’t fatal. In 2006, six people were killed on the parkway when one car crossed the median into oncoming traffic.
Police said Maria Gonzalez of the Bronx was driving south at 68 mph when she bumped a concrete barrier separating the north- and southbound lanes. With one tire damaged, her Honda Pilot skittered across three lanes of traffic, hit a 2-foot-high concrete curb and went airborne, clearing a 4-foot-tall guardrail.