Unlicensed teen SUV driver kills cyclist Jaydan McLaurin in Astoria hit-and-run

Unlicensed 18-year-old arrested in fatal Queens incident; NYC sees alarming increase in cyclist deaths, challenging Mayor Eric Adams' "Vision Zero" plan.

Yaser Ibrahim, a teenage SUV driver, was arrested hours after allegedly fatally running over bicyclist Jaydan McLaurin (16) and fleeing the Queens (NYC) scene.

Ibragim, 18, was reportedly driving without a license. He was arrested early yesterday morning after McLaurin was killed while riding a Citi Bike electric bicycle on 21st Street near 21st Avenue in Astoria around 9:30 p.m. Monday, the New York Post reported.

McLaurin, a basketball player, was the 11th cyclist killed this year in NYC. That number puts 2023 on track to be the deadliest for pedal cyclists in recent memory, according to data from the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT).

“The number of fatalities is concerning,” a DOT spokesperson told the Daily News, adding that the department is closely monitoring the data.

McLaurin, who lived in Ravenswood Houses (Queens), was pronounced dead after being taken to Harlem Hospital. He suffered severe trauma to his body, the NYPD said. “He was a nice young man, he gave back to this community, he played sports,” neighbor Leslie Amos told station NY1 yesterday during a vigil. “He loved to play basketball and soccer and was very respectful,” she added.

Police originally found the SUV involved in the crash abandoned hours before Ibrahim was arrested before dawn Tuesday. Ibrahim, a resident of Levittown on Long Island, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, driving without a license, and a windshield tint violation. All the charges are mere allegations, and those indicted are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

In addition to bicyclists, several pedestrians have been killed in NYC this year, including three last Wednesday night, one of them a 62-year-old Hispanic man in East Harlem.

In addition to gun violence, traffic accidents are another major challenge for Mayor Eric Adams. This is despite “Vision Zero,” a road safety plan created in 2014 by then-new Mayor Bill de Blasio, who promised to make the city safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists with a goal of zero deaths by 2024.

But 2022 was a grim year on New York’s asphalt in all five boroughs. From Jan. 1 to July 31, some 150 people died in road crashes, according to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT). Notably, there was a 129% increase in hit-and-run incidents.

New York City had already experienced a 35% increase in traffic accidents in April 2022, NYPD warned. At the end of that month, there was a tragic streak with an average of one person killed per hit-and-run daily.