Lee Kravitz, the owner of National Pawnbrokers, at 265 Sheridan Blvd. in Inwood, arrived at his store on Feb. 12 to a near a major mess. Several hours before, a New York Police Department patrol vehicle nearly went through the front of the building.
A police officer had attempted to stop a white sedan near Dix Avenue and Redfern Avenue in Far Rockaway at 12:40 a.m., when the suspect sped away, according to the NYPD. While in pursuit, an officer lost control of his car and crashed into the metal poles in front of the store. “I don’t know how he missed the building,” Kravitz said.
The subsequent police investigation uncovered that the vehicle the officer was chasing had been reported stolen. An unidentified man fled the scene of the accident on foot, and police are still looking for him. The two officers were treated for minor injuries at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola.
Sheridan Boulevard links Far Rockaway to the Five Towns, and Kravitz’s store is located on the north side of a curved road, where close calls like this are not uncommon.
Signs stating a speed limit of 25 mph haven’t stopped accidents in front of his store. Four years ago, a BMW truck crashed into the front of the pawnshop. The resulting damage shut down his store for several months. He also recalled countless other times when vehicles have hit the pole. “It’s a terrible turn,” Kravitz said. “There are always pieces of cars out front in the road.”
Peter Sobol, a longtime Inwood resident, would like to see something done to possibly prevent future accidents. Sobol owned a beverage center on the turn for roughly 20 years.
“There need to be more traffic control signals around there, it’s a tough turn to navigate and over the years we’ve had many incidences,” he said. “We’ve had a tractor trailer full of groceries split in half around that turn.”
According to Mary Studdert, a spokeswoman for Hempstead’s department of public works, said they conducted an investigation into the road in December of 2016.
“At the time our office reviewed accident records for 3 years prior to 2016 to determine if there was any indication of unsafe condition that would warrant further analysis,” she said. “Our review did not indicate an atypical condition on Sheridan Boulevard. There was one fatal accident that occurred at Bayview Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard on November 28, 2015, and the accident report indicated that the accident was caused by a vehicle travelling at excessive speed and running a red light.”
After Peter Heskiel posted a photo on Facebook of the police car upended on the poles, several fellow Inwood residents posted comments.
“They will never do anything with Sheridan Blvd.,” Terri Thilman-Hearfield wrote. “I already contacted the town years ago. They sent someone who observed a few hours and I asked him if he saw a problem and he said, ‘I definitely see a problem but there is a speed limit sign.’”
“I hated that turn too and would try to avoid going that way,” commented Linda Hicks, “but sometimes you’ve got no choice.”
Kravitz, who has seen his share of accidents and close calls, has a suggestion. “Maybe they could put a stop sign between the two lights,” he said.
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