A Brooklyn man died recently when a tractor trailer struck him, causing him to fall under one of the truck’s rear wheels. The man, 33-year-old James Gregg, lived just blocks from the site of the accident.
According to witnesses, Gregg was traveling in the same direction as the truck, between the truck and the sidewalk. It was unclear whether Gregg swerved into the truck or it clipped him, but witnesses say he lost his balance and the truck rolled over him. Emergency responders pronounced him dead on the scene. Initial police reports speculated that Gregg was “skitching,” or trying to grab on to the truck to hitch a ride. However, further investigation suggested that the truck may have had a significant “draft,” a wind force created by the speed and size of the vehicle, which pulled Gregg toward the trailer.
Local residents expressed concern that the streets where the accident occurred are not suitable for 18 wheelers or big rigs. The accident occurred on Sixth Avenue near Sterling Place in Park Slope. Saying the neighborhood often looked like “the New Jersey Turnpike,” Carol Gould, who lives on the street, worried that the streets are simply not large enough to the big commercial trucks. Police said that neither Sterling Place nor Sixth Avenue is designated as a truck route. They also noted that 18-wheelers must have a special permit to drive on any city street. They apparently issued the truck driver a summons, but no arrest had been made.
The accident happened around 8 a.m., just two blocks from P.S. 282. Officials said that some of the witnesses were elementary school students on their way to morning classes. School workers apparently came to the scene of the accident and directed students away from the body.
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