SUV kills scooter driver, smashes though Astoria outdoor seating

A car crash in Astoria on Thursday night left a scooter driver dead and an outdoor dining structure on 35th Street flattened.

A driver who lost control of her vehicle on 35th Street in Astoria fatally struck a scooter driver before careening into an outdoor dining structure Thursday night.

The crash occurred around 7:45 p.m. outside Rosatoro, a Peruvian restaurant on the corner of 35th and an Open Streets section of Ditmars Boulevard, according to the NYPD.

The scooter driver, whom police identified as 37-year-old Elmhurst resident Xing Lin, was taken to NYC Health & Hospitals/Elmhurst, where he was pronounced dead. A 32-year-old female diner who was inside the restaurant was also injured in the crash and taken to the hospital, where she was listed in stable condition. 

Highway police said a 60-year-old woman was driving a Mercedes Benz SUV at an “apparent high rate of speed” north on 35th toward Ditmars when she struck Lin on his Yamaha scooter before hitting both a 2017 Dodge Challenger a 2020 Subaru WRX that were both parked and empty on the east side of the street. The car then hurtled into the outdoor dining structure outside the restaurant, according to the NYPD.

Surveillance video posted by CBS from inside Rosatoro shows the car smashing through the wooden dining structure, scattering debris and colliding with tables and chairs before coming to a stop as it met a tree on the sidewalk

The New York Times reported that the driver was trying to pass a slow-moving car by driving into the bicycle lane on 35th Street when the collision happened. 

Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, described the tragedy as the result of inadequate measures to protect open streets, such as Ditmars.

“Ever since Mayor de Blasio launched Open Streets, we have called for physical changes to streets to eliminate the danger of cars. Mayor de Blasio has not advanced these life-saving protections to our streetscape,” Harris wrote in a statement.

De Blasio himself addressed the crash on Friday morning by tweeting that “there is zero tolerance for reckless driving.” 

“I feel incredible pain for Xing Lin’s family. New York City will continue to deepen our commitment to Vision Zero. Outdoor dining is safe and we'll continue to protect pedestrians and outdoor diners alike,” he wrote.

There are no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing, NYPD said.


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