Fundraiser launched for family of teenager killed and sister critically injured in Woodside hit-and-run

A family friend has launched a fundraiser to help pay the funeral costs of a 16-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in Woodside and her little sister who was critically injured in the collision outside I.S.125. Photo GoFundMe

June 27, 2024 By Bill Parry

The truck driver who was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon following a fatal hit-and-run collision near a Woodside school that killed a 16-year-old girl and left her 8-year-old sister critically injured has not been charged as of 5 p.m. on Thursday, according to an NYPD spokesman, who added the investigation remains ongoing.

The tragic collision occurred at 3:30 p.m. as 16-year-old Jael Zhinin and her little sister Leslie had just left I.S. 125 on the last day of school and were in the crosswalk at the intersection of 47th Avenue and 46th Street when the 28-year-old driver of a delivery truck made a left-hand turn from westbound 47th Avenue onto 46th Street where he struck the girls and allegedly drove off.

Police from the 108th Precinct found him in the truck a block away and took him into custody.

EMS responded to the location and pronounced Jael dead at the scene. Her little sister Leslie was rushed to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she was listed in critical but stable condition.

The NYPD Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad continues to investigate.

The family was left devastated, and a friend launched a GoFundMe account to help pay for Jael’s funeral expenses and the “overwhelming costs associated with medical bills” as Leslie recovers from her injuries.

“Together, we can provide crucial support and comfort to Jael’s family as they navigate this heartbreaking loss and aid Leslie in her journey towards healing,” organizer Jenifer Quizhpi wrote. “Thank you for your compassion, generosity, and solidarity during this challenging time. Your support means everything to us and to the Zhinin family as they mourn Jael’s passing and rally around Leslie’s recovery.”

Jael became the 10th child fatality on Queens streets in the last 18 months, according to Transportation Alternatives.

“Today, a family should be celebrating the first day of summer with their two children. Instead, they’re mourning one daughter while another is hospitalized in critical condition,” TA Deputy Executive Director for Public Affairs Elizabeth Adams said in a statement. “Yesterday, as just-graduated middle schoolers walked out of I.S. 125, they saw their neighbor dying just outside the school’s doors. They watched as the girl’s mother held her daughter during her last few minutes.”

Courtesy of Transportation Alternatives

She noted that 47th Avenue is a Vision Zero priority corridor — one of the most dangerous streets in the city.

“New York City failed to protect these children,” Adams said. “The streets outside schools can and should be closed to car traffic — especially during pick-up and drop-off when these streets become especially dangerous — but 47th Avenue is not. There was not even a crossing guard on duty on a street the city knows is dangerous.”

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