The latest in a spate of pedestrian deaths near West 96th Street took place Sunday with the death of Samantha Lee, 26, an anesthesiology resident at Columbia University Medical Center. Lee was crossing 96th Street between Broadway and West End Avenue around 5 a.m. when she was hit by the side mirror of a St. Luke’s Hospital ambulance. The force of the impact pushed her into the next lane, where she was hit by an oncoming car. Lee was pronounced dead at the scene.
The New York Post reported that Lee graduated from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in June 2013. Carolyn Kelly, the associate dean for admissions and student affairs at the UCSD School of Medicine, spoke to the Post on behalf of the school. She described Lee as an “outstanding student whose warmth and compassion brightened the lives of her patients and our school community.”
Lee’s death comes in the wake of the Jan. 10 deaths of a 73 year-old man and a 9-year old boy. Both were struck by vehicles in the area. The deaths have resulted in an increased police presence in the area, with reports of a crackdown on jaywalking.
George Engel, a neighbor of Lee’s, told the Post that Lee’s decision to cross where she did was something he does often.
“I cross here because otherwise I have to wait at the ‘don’t walk’ for a ridiculous amount of time,” he said, adding that Lee’s death has made him think twice. “Now that I know one of my neighbors was killed doing this, I don’t know. People fly down this block. They’re driving 50 miles per hour here.”