New York – An 82 year old Jewish man who died Saturday night after he left a Nassau County synagogue is the second synagogue member to be struck by a car on the same roadway.
Sion Bakhshi was leaving Torah Ohr in Roslyn Heights at 7:22 PM when he was hit by a car as he crossed Mineola Avenue near Hillside Avenue. Nassau County Police said that Bakhshi was struck by a northbound GMC Acadia and was pronounced dead at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset 30 minutes later.
Rabbi Doron Baalhaness, rabbi of the largely Persian synagogue, said that Bakhshi had been coming to service daily to say Kaddish for his son David, who died three months ago.
“He was a very quiet man , a very nice man,” Rabbi Baalhaness told VIN News. “Even though he had just suffered a tragedy, he used to come to shul every day and smile at everybody, especially the kids.”
Mineola Avenue is a four lane roadway with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour, but Rabbi Baalhaness said that cars often speed through the area at 60 miles per hour and that accidents happen with alarming frequency.
“Every other day there is another accident,” said Rabbi Baalhaness.
Another congregant was struck in front of the synagogue several weeks ago on a snowy Saturday, suffering a concussion and other injuries, reported Rabbi Baalhaness, who added that a single streetlight near the synagogue is currently not operational.
The nearest crosswalk is located a quarter of a mile southeast of the synagogue. Because Bakhshi lived northwest of the synagogue, walking to the crosswalk would have forced the 82 year old to walk an additional half mile out of his way in the cold.
Bakhshi was among the many synagogue members, residents and local businesses who signed on a petition calling for safety enhancements in the area, reported Rabbi Baalhaness.
“Anyone who wants to cross the road has a very difficult time,” said Rabbi Baalhaness. “It is a disaster.”
Police said that that the unidentified driver of the black SUV did not appear to be guilty of any criminality in the accident, located a third of a mile from Bahkshi’s home.