Feb. 21, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
Residents continue to mourn the death of a 7-year-old girl who was fatally struck by an SUV in Astoria Friday, Feb. 17, with many calling on the city to make the intersection where she died safer.
Dolma Naadhum was hit by a 2021 Ford Explorer at the intersection of Newtown Road and 45th Street just before 6 p.m. after the driver, a 46-year-old woman, allegedly ran a stop sign. Naadhum was attempting to cross the street with her mother at the time and cops say the driver did not fully stop at a stop sign before striking Dolma.
Naadhum, who lived feet away from the scene on 45th Street, was transported to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst with severe head trauma, but could not be saved.
Residents have been paying their respects to Naadhum on a GoFundMe page that was set up to help raise funds to support her family with the funeral and memorial services. As of Tuesday morning, the page has generated more than $47,000, far exceeding its initial goal of $25,000, with only donors to the fund being able to comment on the page.
“Such a happy and Joyful girl,” wrote one commenter. “Gone too soon. You will always [be] remembered. – Jake & Josh T.”
“You will be deeply missed,” wrote Chien-ting Kuo. “Your smile and energy brought so much joy to your friends around you. We felt so sorry for the family’s loss. Rest in peace.”
Another donor wrote that she was devastated to hear about Naadhum’s passing.
“Heard about this tragedy on the news,” wrote Nellie Ma. “My heart is broken! You are taken away from this world way too soon. I hope you didn’t have to suffer too much. May you rest in peace little angel!”
- Meanwhile, two memorials have been erected in Astoria to honor Naadhum. One memorial is located at the intersection where she was struck, while the other is located in front of her former school PS85Q, located at 23-70 31st St.
The mural at the intersection consists of around a dozen bouquets of flowers, several stuffed animals a lighting candle around a street lamp pole. There is also a sign attached to the pole that reads:
“A beautiful little girl is now among the angels in heaven. May she rest in peace,” a sign at the memorial reads. “May God console her family with all his goodness. And in her honor may we all be more caring and loving people.”
Naadhum was crossing the street with her mother from the northwest corner of the intersection to the southwest corner when the SUV, traveling eastbound on Newtown Road, knocked her down. The driver remained at the scene and no arrests have been made regarding the incident.
Leah Lin, the chapter leader of PS85Q in Astoria, who helped set up the page, is now calling on the city to make the intersection safer. Naadhum was a second-grade student at PS85Q in Astoria.
Lin shared a Facebook post detailing some actions residents say the city should take to better protect pedestrians crossing at the intersection.
“The more they hear from us as a community, the more serious they will take this,” Lin wrote.
The Facebook post argues that visibility for drivers approaching the intersection is poor and is restricted by vehicles parked close to the crosswalk there.
The post also claims that drivers traveling eastbound on Newtown Road are forced to look right at the intersection first to see oncoming vehicular traffic going northbound on 45th Street. Both roads are one-way.
Yet the majority of the foot traffic, the Facebook post argues, is coming from drivers’ left-hand side since there is a school and playground north of the intersection. Additionally, there are two mailboxes on the northwest corner that may restrict visibility, the post states.
The Facebook post is calling on the city to “daylight” the intersection, install traffic lights, and relocate the mailboxes.
Daylighting is a process of removing any visual barriers within a minimum of 10 feet of a crosswalk or intersection. Examples of daylighting an intersection would be extending curbs, raising crosswalks, and putting down street furniture or plantings in order to provide open sightlines for pedestrians and approaching motorists.
Furthermore, a light that was out at the time of the incident has since been fixed, according to the post.
Lin has instructed residents to contact City Council members Julie Won and Tiffany Cabán, as well as DOT Commissioner Nicola Garcia, and implore them to implement new safety measures at this intersection.
“Together we can ask our elected officials to advocate for our community’s safety to prevent future tragedies,” Lin wrote.