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Witnesses Sought in Route 9W Bicyclist Death

Police had difficulty identifying Pomona woman because she was not carrying any ID when she was struck by a car in Upper Grandview

Orangetown police are seeking witnesses to an accident on Sunday along Route 9W in which a 53-year-old Pomona woman was struck by a car and killed.

Accident investigators were out on Route 9W Monday reviewing the scene of the fatality in hopes of better understanding the 1:49 p.m. incident which claimed the life of Janet Martinez. She was riding a bicycle alone on the state highway in the Upper Grandview section of Orangetown.

Police said Martinez was struck while traveling southbound on Route 9W by a Toyota Scion also heading southbound driven by Denise Patawaran, 25, of Sparkill. As of this afternoon, the investigation into the death was continuing and no charges had been filed.

Police said investigators were speaking with Patawaran again today after an initial interview yesterday.

Police said the investigation has been hampered by a lack of witnesses to the incident. Additionally, police said they initially had trouble identifying the victim because she did not have any identification on her.

Martinez had a cell phone and $41 cash on her at the time of the collision. Police said they were able to eventually identify her through her cell phone, however, the phone did not contain basic emergency information that cell phone users frequently imput in the "In Case of Emegnecy" feature.

After being struck, Martinez was assisted by a nurse who lives nearby and an off-duty Yonkers Emergency Service Unit police officer who stopped at the accident scene. She was also assisted by members of Rockland Paramedics.

Martinez and Patawaran were both taken to Nyack Hospital by crews from Nyack Community Ambulance Corps and the Piermont Fire Department ambulance. Martinez died at Nyack Hospital at 2:43 p.m.

Police said Martinez was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Bicyclists who were passing through the area as a group told police they did not believe Martinez was part of any group going through the area by bike on Sunday and that the type of bicycle she was riding was not a type they would expect to see being used on Route 9W.

Police are still uncertain where Martinez was going and where she came from. Investigators ask that anyone with information about the incident or anyone who might have been a witness call at 845-359-3700.

Route 9W was closed for several hours following the incident Sunday.

Rob July 12, 2012 at 03:46 AM
They should Ban the cars. Not the Cyclist. When was the last time a Cyclist hit a car ? It's the idiots who don't know how to drive and most drive way to fast. When someone tailgates me on the Parkway or some other road, I purposely slow down...It's lots of fun.
John Patrick Schutz July 12, 2012 at 04:33 AM
"Share the Road" signs? While there may be some logic in reducing speed limit (though being it IS a US ROUTE not just a side road, there is only so far you can lower it. Yesterday - a bright clear day without glare - I was travelling 10 miles an hour BELOW the speed limit on that very stretch of 9W, specifically keeping an eye out because of: 1. this tragedy; 2, the large number of cyclists around Nyack and the area yesterday; and 3. because it was 5 O'Clock and there was heavy volume. The Northbound lane was one steady evenly spaced stream of cars headed north. I was travelling south, at 31 mph. Midway to Piermont there's a bend to the east and back due to a retaining wall several stories high jutting out into the road - the tiny shoulder disappears - a blind bend for southbound drivers. As I rounded that bend, a biker I had no way of seeing prior is in midlane having veered into the mid-road avoiding a sewer grate. My choice for a split second: swerve into that unbroken line of northbound commuters in a headon 30+40=70 mph headon; or strike the cyclist at 31 MPH - neither desirable. I very narrowly avoided a headon collision AND I WAS TRAVELLING BELOW THE SPEED LIMIT AND ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR CYCLISTS. In this case, I the motorist would have died. The poor lady who died was on this stretch for the first time. YES, make the turn-offs for the THREE safe alternatives much more obvious, but ENFORCE that this is one place where recreation cannot trump free passage of traffic.
Tim July 12, 2012 at 10:21 AM
Why in this day and age of texting and driving would you want to ride a bike on any road.....4 tons vs a human body and a bike......No thanks
jonathan S. September 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Participation in cycling has grown exponentially in the last few years and nowhere is this growth more apparent than on Route 9W. The increasing frequency of accidents on this roadway reflects the overall population growth, suburban sprawl, and the lack of suburban planning for cycling related green space. Access to safe areas to participate in these sports is a significant quality of life issue that not only has an impact on one’s health, but is also a boon to property value. Although Route 9W might seem like an unusual place to ride a bicycle, it is widely used for its long straightaways with few interrupting intersections. The paucity of intersections on this road actually renders it safer than the narrow local streets that were never intended to accommodate bicycles and cars. Options for a safer cycling route in this area include: the creation of an alternate bicycle route in a different location than Route 9W or introduce safety features to Route 9W. Possible new routes include: the elongation of River Road along the Green Trail to State Line or the creation of a bike trail through the perimeter green space between 9W and the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Construction of a ‘Rails to Trails’ system along the infrequently used New Jersey Transit freight tracks that run from Englewood to the Joeseph B. Clarke Rail Trail in Piermont, NY.
jonathan S. September 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Alterations to Route 9W could include: widening the shoulder of Route 9W from Silvan Avenue in Englewood to E. Clinton Avenue, the construction of a proper bike lane with vibration strips and reflectors; posting signs at Exits 3 and 4 of Route 9W to the Palisades Interstate Parkway warning motorists turning left of oncoming bicycle traffic .

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