May 3, 2021 By Christina Santucci
A GoFundMe for the delivery worker killed when a driver plowed into an outdoor dining structure in Astoria Thursday has raised more than 10 times its original goal in less than 48 hours.
The fundraiser, which was setup by Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani to collect donations for the family of Xing Long Li, surpassed $100,000 by Sunday morning. Mamdani said that the drive had quickly met the initial $10,000 goal “thanks to the generosity of the Astoria community.”
Xing was working his delivery shift at about 7:45 p.m. for Watawa Sushi, located at 33-10 Ditmars Blvd., when a driver behind the wheel of a 2013 Mercedes Benz C-300 tried to use the bike lane to pass another vehicle and crashed into Xing’s 2019 Yamaha Chappy motorcycle, WABC reported.
The Mercedes driver, who was allegedly speeding, also hit two parked cars on the east side of 35th Street and plowed into an outdoor dining structure for Rosatoro Restaurant, at 35-02 Ditmars Blvd, before coming to a stop. A 32-year-old woman was injured by debris from the damaged dining structure, police said.
A spokesperson for the NYPD said Sunday afternoon that the investigation into the crash remained ongoing and no arrests have been made.
Yekaterina Tsvetkova, who was seated inside the restaurant with her boyfriend and a friend, estimated that the Mercedes was driving at about 50 miles per hour.
“The whole thing looked absolutely horrific, like something you see in action movies where cars flip and crash into things. But this was happening in real life,” she told the Queens Post. “I honestly do not know how we survived this and how we walked away with zero injuries.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio also weighed in on the crash, tweeting “There is ZERO tolerance for reckless driving. I feel incredible pain for Xing Lin’s family.”
Xing immigrated from China to the United States 14 years ago, and left behind his wife Li Chen and their two children, who are ages nine and five, according to the GoFundMe. He had started making deliveries for Watawa about a month and a half ago.
“This new job was vital as Xing was the sole income-earner of his household. He tried to work as much as he could so he could provide enough for his family here as well as his mother and father who live in China. He loved music, his family, and taking care of those he loved,” Mamdani wrote on the page.
Mamdani noted that Xing’s death occurred less than six months after another delivery worker was killed while riding in a bike lane in Astoria. Alfredo Cabrera Licona, 35, was fatally struck in November by a Bud Light truck that veered into the bike lane at Astoria Boulevard and Crescent Street.
“We must be clear however, the true cause of death for both Xing and Alfredo was the inadequate road safety infrastructure across Astoria, infrastructure that incentivizes the kind of reckless driving that took their lives,” the assemblymember wrote. “Our neighborhood, and this entire city, needs appropriate infrastructure to prevent cars from entering bike lanes.”
Mamdani had previously organized a GoFundMe page for Cabrera Licona’s family.
“It is immigrants and essential workers like Xing and Alfredo who will continue to be most exposed to the risks and most impacted when they inevitably come to a head, as they are the people who we rely on to keep our city running as we emerge from this pandemic,” Mamdani wrote.
Mamdani had originally set a fundraising goal of $10,000 for Xing’s family on Friday, but the GoFundMe passed that amount within hours of its launch. The assemblymember then raised the goal to $20,000 after speaking with Xing’s family.
“They told us they’ve been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received and are incredibly grateful to everyone who has chipped in to help them out,” Mamdani wrote in an update on the page.