From the New York Times, Feb. 21:

Hit and Run in Brooklyn Leaves One Brain-Dead
An employee of the mayor’s office was declared brain-dead on Sunday morning after she and another woman were struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, the authorities said.

Around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, a car traveling north on the avenue struck the women near the intersection of Prospect Place in Prospect Heights, the police said. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the two women lying in the street.

Erinn Phelan, 22, a coordinator for the mayor’s volunteerism initiative, was pronounced brain-dead on Sunday at Kings County Hospital Center; the other victim, Alma Guerrero, 23, was in stable condition there. Authorities provided no other details.

A witness provided the authorities with a description of the car, and officers began canvassing the area, the police said. Within hours, they found an abandoned green 1993 Acura Legend that fit the witness’s description about five blocks away. The windshield on the driver’s side had been smashed, the police said.

No arrests had been made as of Sunday night.

Ms. Phelan began working in June 2009 as a coordinator for NYC Service, begun by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in April to promote volunteerism in the city. In her job, she managed a docket of NYC Civic Corps members and the nonprofit and public agencies the corps members worked with to increase their roster of volunteers.

Mr. Bloomberg spoke with Ms. Phelan’s parents on Sunday, he said in a statement. He appealed to the public to report any tips about the accident to the authorities.

“I told them that as a father I can’t begin to imagine what they are going through, but all of our prayers are with their dedicated and idealistic young daughter, who’s helping New York City answer President Obama’s historic call to service,” Mr. Bloomberg said…

Workers near the area of the crash said that the stretch of Flatbush Avenue was popular with speeding drivers.

Zev Baranov, 23, a bartender at Ocean’s 8 bar and grill, a block away, said he had just left work on Sunday when he saw police activity at the corner.

“People like to speed there,” he said. “There’s always people going up and down there, always stuff going on.”

Shuhei Fujii, 37, who tends bar on Flatbush Avenue at Sharlene’s, agreed.

“I can’t remember how many times I almost got run over there,” he said.

Others said that the normally heavy traffic on the avenue tended to speed up late at night, especially on weekends.

“On the weekend, people coming from Manhattan go flying a little fast,” said Sean Carter, 26, a carpenter who lives nearby.

Friends and relatives of the women gathered at the hospital on Sunday afternoon, some crying and pacing back and forth as they awaited word from doctors.

A colleague from the mayor’s office described Ms. Phelan as amiable and soft-spoken, and very excited about starting her career in New York.

See our last post on the car culture and more reasons WHY WE FIGHT.