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Elderly pedestrian killed by dump truck steps from his home

Oct. 6, 2023 By Iryna Shkurhan

An elderly man was struck and killed by a dump truck while crossing the street just steps away from his home in College Point on Thursday morning. 

Police responded to a 911 call of a pedestrian-involved motor vehicle collision shortly after 7 a.m. on Oct. 5. Officers found the man unconscious and unresponsive, with visible trauma to his head and body. Emergency medical services pronounced him dead on arrival.

The 63-year-old victim, Lance Ruthkowski, resided on 14th Road, less than a block away from where he was killed. According to the NYPD, he was crossing the street southbound at the intersection of 14th Road and 115th Street. 

The site of the accident. Photo from Google Maps

The truck driver, a 55-year old male, was operating a 2020 Peterbilt Dump Truck and driving westbound on 14th Road. The over 100,000 pound truck was entering a nearby construction site. 

A stop work order at the site was issued shortly after the incident to allow for an investigation to take place, according to Councilwoman Vickie Paladino. She also mentioned that she is working with the Department of Design and Construction in the ongoing investigation. 

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family as they cope with this tragedy,” said Paladino in a statement.

According to the councilwoman, the pedestrian and tripped  and fell while crossing the street on his way to his car to leave for work. It may have made him less visible to the truck driver. The NYPD was unable to confirm if the victim fell, or was walking, at the time of the collision. 

The street where the victim resided and was killed.

The driver operating the truck remained on scene, was interviewed and later released from the precinct. The NYPD Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad is investigating the death. No arrests were made.

Members of the community who knew Ruthkowski took to Facebook to express their condolences. 

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