Two men never made it home for Christmas after the driver of a box truck mounted a sidewalk and struck the two victims, killing a pedestrian and cyclist Friday morning on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
Police said the 66-year-old driver hit a fire hydrant before striking Taurino Morales, 37, of New York, and Delfino Maceda, 46, of Queens, around 9:20 a.m. at the intersection of Third Avenue and East 61st Street.
Morales was in the roadway on a bicycle, while Maceda was standing on the sidewalk when the box truck sprang forward and struck the pair, according to a police report. The department said both men were taken to nearby hospitals where they were pronounced dead.
A third man suffered injuries as well. The 32-year-old passenger was attempting to climb back into the Baldor specialty foods truck when he fell out. Cops said the man hurt his ankle in the fall.
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Police sources confirmed the arrest of the 66-year-old driver but no charges were immediately announced. They said he may have been under the influences of drugs but did not initially cleared him of alcohol intoxication.
“We are heartbroken and outraged that traffic violence has claimed the lives of two more New Yorkers this holiday season," Transportation Alternatives, a New York City advocacy group, said in a statement.
Traffic crashes have accounted for at least 265 deaths on New York City streets this year, including the deaths of 14 delivery workers, the group said.
“We have the tools to end deadly traffic violence. We cannot let another eight years go by without taking all the steps needed to reach Vision Zero," their statement continued.