Minivan strikes and kills young woman near Harned Road in Commack, Suffolk County, while jogging with her brothers

Minivan accident in Suffolk County claims life of Ilona Kaydanov; her brothers recover as community voices road safety concerns.

In a devastating incident on Long Island, 22-year-old Ilona Kaydanov lost her life when a minivan struck her and her two younger brothers, Dennis (20) and Joseph Kaydanov (13), while they were out jogging early Thursday morning. The accident, near Harned Road and Donna Court in Commack, Suffolk County, around 8:20 a.m., shocked the local community.

Ilona succumbed to her injuries at the hospital, while her brothers are reportedly in stable condition, according to the police. “My grandchildren jogged together daily,” Lubov Kaydanov, their grandmother, shared with Pix11.

The minivan’s driver, Francis Floyd, and his two passengers were unharmed. The vehicle has been impounded for safety investigations, but no charges have been pressed against Floyd. The specifics of what led to this tragic collision remain undetermined.

Residents of Harned Road voiced their concerns regarding road safety. “They speed by here every day,” said Joe Pollari. “She’s not the only one that’s died here. There have been others on that road… I recall a motorcycle incident a few years ago where someone lost their life.”

A City Grapples with Road Safety

This incident echoes a disturbing trend in New York, where traffic accidents have become increasingly common. A parallel can be drawn to an accident in May, where two child tennis players tragically lost their lives in a crash involving a driver who was under the influence of cocaine.

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The city authorities have consistently communicated zero tolerance towards drivers exceeding speed limits or those driving under the influence of substances. Yet, the challenges persist.

Evaluating “Vision Zero”

In light of these incidents, questions arise about the effectiveness of “Vision Zero,” a road safety initiative launched in 2014 by then-Mayor Bill de Blasio. The ambitious program aimed to ensure the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, with a target of zero fatalities by 2024. However, current statistics paint a grim picture. The NYPD has reported a staggering 260% increase in bicyclist deaths in the first half of 2023 and a 325% rise since Vision Zero’s inception in 2014. Disturbingly, many of these accidents involve drivers who flee the scene.

Sobering Statistics

The alarming increase in road accidents is evident in recent statistics:

  • New York witnessed a 53% rise in cyclist deaths this year.
  • 112 individuals lost their lives in road crashes in the first half of 2023, with Queens registering the highest numbers.

Considering these figures, the city’s commitment to ensuring road safety is under scrutiny. The hope remains that strategic measures will be taken to prevent such tragic events.