On Tuesday, December 31, two fatal auto accidents occurred before noon on Peninsula Boulevard, snarling traffic and prompting Five Towns residents to push for additional street lights on the county road.
Stuart Hecht, 73, was struck and killed by an SUV this morning near the intersection of Peninsula Boulevard and Edward Avenue in Woodmere. He is the husband of former HANC parent and former Plainview Early Childhood Center Director Sheryl Hecht, father of HANC Middle School Principal and alumnus, Rabbi Elliot Hecht (HANC ’90), and of Chabad of the Five Towns/Gan Chamesh Red Room Morah Laura Slomnicki (HANC ’95).
The funeral will be Wednesday, January 1, at 10 a.m. at the Schwartz Brothers-Jefferson Memorial Chapel, 114-03 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills. Shiva will be held at the Hecht residence, 520 Edward Ave., Woodmere.
Police said the victim was hit just before 7 a.m. by a 2019 Infinity SUV. He was taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital, where he died of his injuries.
The driver — a 36-year-old woman — stayed on the scene. The homicide squad is investigating the incident, police said.
Dr. Joseph Rozenbaum, a fellow member of the Bais Tefillah kehillah, otherwise known as the Edward Avenue shul, described Stuart as a “baal chesed.” Dr. Rozenbaum notes that “As a retiree, he could sleep late. But instead Stuart almost never missed davening at the hashkama minyan which shows his mesiras nefesh. Dr. Rosenbaum said Hecht was a “stalwart of the minyan” and will be “sorely missed.”
Dr. Rozenbaum also pointed out the issue that is on everyone’s minds: the unsafe traffic pattern in that area. Mr. Hecht walked across the street every morning. It’s a well-traveled corner but with troublesome blind spots and speeding cars on Peninsula.
“We need to do something about traffic here on Peninsula. I live in this house for nine years. There’s an accident probably once a week in front of our house. I’ve seen cars flipped over with kids climbing out of sunroofs,” Rachel Tuchman told CBS New York. “It’s really dangerous.”
“It’s a very dangerous corner — there have been numerous sad stories over the years,” said a neighbor. “We’ve requested a traffic light in the past. I’ve called the county to ask, at the very least, to synchronize the two nearest lights and was told it would be taken care of, but it wasn’t. There’s poor visibility — the corner is near a curve.”
Melanie Kail started a petition to the County of Nassau which has received almost 1,500 signatures.
“As there have been countless motor vehicle accidents and pedestrians struck in and around this intersection it has become abundantly clear that we need to do something to help ensure the safety of our community, friends and neighbors,” Kail’s petition reads.
State Senator Todd Kaminsky commented, “This is a matter of the most urgent concern and a terrible tragedy. I have been in contact with the county and understand they are doing a traffic study to weigh the feasibility of installing a traffic light at this intersection. I will use the full weight of my office to expedite this process and advocate for a light at the dangerous intersection.”
Other people took issue with the way people in the community disregard traffic signals and race across the middle of streets.
“He should not have been crossing an intersection it does not have a traffic light. He should’ve walked a block to the intersection which does have a traffic light and been crossing with the light. Too many pedestrians continue to walk in the middle of the street despite the fact that so many people have been hit by cars or killed.”
At 11:30 a.m. two cars collided at the intersection of Harris Avenue and Peninsula Boulevard in Hewlett, leaving one driver dead and one seriously wounded.
According to police, Bertram Wolf, 85, of Floral Park was driving a 2017 Mercedes Benz northbound on Peninsula Boulevard. When he made a left turn onto Harris Avenue he collided with a 2014 Dodge Ram pickup truck which was traveling southbound on Peninsula.
Wolf was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead by hospital emergency medical staff.
The 77 year old male driving the Dodge pick-up, was transported to a local hospital where he is in serious condition. The investigation is ongoing.