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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 via 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 Thursday night, 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 were heading to their home on 49th Street after the last day of school and were in the south crosswalk at the intersection of 47th Avenue and 46th Street when the 28-year-old driver of a 2016 Ford water delivery truck made a left-hand turn from westbound 47th Avenue onto southbound 46th Street where he struck the girls who were thrown to the pavement. The older sister was then run over by the passenger side rear tires of the vehicle as the driver drove away from the scene southbound on 46th Street.

Police from the 108th Precinct found him in the truck a block away at the intersection of 46th Street and 48th Avenue where the driver was identified and taken into custody for questioning, police said.

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.

There are no arrests and 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, who like her little sister was not a student at I.S. 125, became the tenth 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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