Man struck and killed while dodging Staten Island Expressway traffic

1-26axi.JPGSTATEN ISLAND, N.Y.  — A man on foot dodging Staten Island Expressway traffic was struck and killed yesterday.

Police said the accident victim, Nelson Coelho, 23, of Kearny, N.J., was pronounced dead at Richmond University Medical Center, West Brighton.

The accident happened a little before 5:45 p.m. near Exit 5, where the Expressway merges with the West Shore Expressway; signs alert drivers to choose between the Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing.

Police said Coelho was attempting to cross the Staten Island Expressway from the north side to the south side when he was struck in the westbound left lane by a 2005 Toyota Camry that was being driven by a 31-year-old man. There is no criminality suspected and the investigation is ongoing.

It wasn’t known last night why Coelho took the extreme risk of venturing on foot into high-speed traffic.

The accident backed up traffic all the way to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for several hours.

The hunter-green Camry had its front left fender knocked in and its front window shattered. The sedan’s air bags had deployed.

Twenty feet away, illuminated by road flares, a pair of pants and a sweatshirt lay on the ground.

Approximately 10 emergency vehicles were dispatched to the scene. Two lanes of New Jersey-bound traffic were closed for the response, bringing the evening rush to a grinding halt.

Late last night, the left lane and the shoulder lane remained closed.

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