MidVille senior killed by full-size SUV 1

Vera Schneider, 91, of Middle Village was killed Tuesday when she was hit by a 2019 Cadillac Escalade like this one.

An elderly Middle Village woman was killed Tuesday afternoon when a driver making a turn in a large SUV hit her, police reported.

Vera Schneider, 91, was struck at the corner of Eliot Avenue and 72nd Street at about 12:35 p.m. Police said the driver was making a left turn onto 72nd from Eliot in a 2019 Cadillac Escalade when he hit the victim, who was crossing 72nd. The driver, 51, remained on the scene, and police did not announce any charges.

Schneider, who lived at 61-19 76 St., was found unconscious and unresponsive, with trauma about her body, police said. She was transported to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, where she was pronounced dead.

Three times as many pedestrians and bicyclists are killed by vehicles turning left than those turning right, the city Department of Transportation determined in a 2016 study. Seniors are at greater risk in such crashes, the study found, with 67 the median age of those killed by a left-turning vehicle, compared to 50 for all other crash types.

And sport utility vehicles are deadlier to pedestrians than cars, according to studies such as one the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released in 2020.

“Analyzing a sample of 79 crashes from three urban areas in Michigan, the researchers found greater risk to pedestrians from SUVs,” the IIHS said. “Because the sample size is small and limited to one geographic region, more research will be required to see whether all of the findings hold up in a larger study. 

“In the Michigan crashes, SUVs caused more serious injuries than cars when impacts occurred at greater than 19 miles per hour. At speeds of 20-39 mph, 3 out of 10 crashes with SUVs (30 percent) resulted in a pedestrian fatality, compared with 5 out of 22 for cars (23 percent). At 40 mph and higher, all three crashes with SUVs killed the pedestrian (100 percent), compared with 7 out of 13 crashes involving cars (54 percent). Below 20 miles per hour there was little difference between the outcomes, with pedestrians struck by either vehicle type tending to sustain minor injuries.”

The IIHS also said the number of pedestrians killed nationwide rose 53 percent from 2009 to 2018, accounting for nearly a fifth of all traffic fatalities, a share not seen since the early 1980s. During that same time period, the share of SUVs among passenger vehicles rose from 21 to 29 percent.

The Escalade is a full-size SUV, of the kind whose stature concerns traffic safety advocates due to line of sight issues and the height of its front end, which makes impacts with pedestrians more dangerous. 

The Chronicle could not find the height of a 2019 Escalade’s hood in an online search Friday; the vehicle’s overall height was listed as 6 feet, 2 inches (or 2 and four-tenths of an inch) on several websites dedicated to automobiles. 

But in writing about the 2021 model, Forbes magazine said, “How big is big? A person 5-foot-6 inches tall can rest his or her chin on the leading edge of the front hood without bending the knees.”

And in 2015, the Car Guide, in reporting about “The Massive 2015 Cadillac Escalade,” said, “Due to the height of the hood, shorter people will need a stool to peer inside, change the oil, add windshield wiper fluid, and so forth.”

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