Tragedy at ShopRite Garnerville

BY MICHAEL CAHILL

A Pomona man was killed in the parking lot of Shoprite Plaza in Garnerville on Sunday, police said.

According to police, the man Leonardo Alvarez, 76, of Pomona was struck and killed by an SUV on Sunday afternoon while exiting the store. Alvarez was taken to Nyack hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Spot in front of Shoprite where Alvarez was stuck and killed by an SUV, while exiting the store.

It is unclear if the driver of the SUV, Lavina Vijayakumar, 40, of Pomona, will face charges. According to Lieutenant Martin Lund of the Town of Haverstraw Police, the accident is still under investigation.

A picture posted by the Journal News showed a grisly scene of blood-streaked pavement and groceries right outside the Shoprite exit. The Journal News later removed the photo.

A day after the incident some shoppers were not even aware of what had happened. The spot where Alvarez was hit has been cleaned and covered with sand.

The parking lot is a 15 MPH zone, but drivers routinely exceed that limit as they vie for parking spots. Many shoppers were concerned before the accident about their safety in the parking lot, now they are hoping more will be done to enforce speed limits.

“I can’t even begin to count how many times a car has almost hit me in that lot. It’s sad it took someone getting killed for them to actually realize how dangerous it is,” said Cerena Hammond, a regular shopper at the plaza. “I really hope that something can be done to keep this from ever happening again.”

Martin Bagrosky, a World War II veteran from Theills, says the plaza is a “dangerous spot.” Cars and taxis frequently park in the fire lane that stretches across the ShopRite entrance to load and unload passengers.

This, he says, creates a dangerous situation for patrons exiting to the parking lot across two-way traffic where there is no stop sign or speed bump, only a yield sign.

“I’ve been proactive in the town for many years about traffic safety. But the town does not seem to very interested in putting in speed bumps and stop signs,” said Bagrosky.

The manager of the Garnerville Shoprite, Rob Wilson, was not available for comment.