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Parents of Queens woman killed by taxi in hit-and-run sues driver and city

2019-09-20

The family of a Queens woman killed by a hit-and-run cabbie filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the driver, his boss and the owner of the gas station where she was mowed down.

The parents of Sherena Hundalani, 26, who died Feb. 24 after a green cab struck her from behind outside a Mobil gas station in near Queens Blvd. in Rego Park, also named the city and several city agencies as defendants.

Hundalani, a restaurant manager, was walking at about 4 p.m. on the sidewalk near Queens Blvd. and 63rd Road about a half-mile from her home when she was struck by a cab whose driver did not stop, police said. She was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, where she died two hours later.

The driver, Lakhvinder Singh, fled the scene and was later taken into custody, but was not charged. He blamed the incident on a mechanical issue.

But Hundalani’s family, in the lawsuit filed in Queens Supreme Court, says the driver is responsible. They also blame the city for a poor road design, which they said played a role in Hundalani’s death.

“The NYC defendants and the Mobil defendants created and/or were aware of numerous unacceptably dangerous traffic safety conditions in and around the Mobil Station, which is centrally located along Queens Boulevard (known as the `Boulevard of Death’),” the lawsuit said.

”Yet,the NYC Defendants and the Mobil Defendants inexplicably failed to implement or undertake any remedial safety measures, any one of which could have averted this tragedy.”

The gas station where Hundalani was killed is near a taxi stand. Its location encourages cab drivers to cut through the station’s lot to access Queens Blvd., according to court papers. There are no barriers around the area where Sherena was killed, no warning signs and no proper traffic control devices, the lawsuit said.

Singh, 52, also struck and injured two other pedestrians while trying to take a shortcut through the gas station.

The lawsuit also claims that Singh was medically unfit to drive a cab.

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department, Nicholas Paolucci, said the case is under review.

“This was a tragic loss of life,” Paolucci said.

Singh could not be reached for comment.

The parents are suing for their daughter’s lost earnings and for their own pain and suffering. The lawsuit did not specify a damages amount, but a notice of claim filed months ago put the number at $25 million.