The investigation into the Bronx Zoo accident on Sunday afternoon continues, with Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. weighing in. It has now been confirmed that the minivan containing seven members of a single family hit something in the road that caused it to become airborne, before it sailed over the guard rail and plummeted into a ravine in a non-public portion of the zoo property. It landed upside-down, killing everyone inside. This horrible tragedy has sparked a conversation about the safety of the Bronx River Parkway, particularly because of a deadly accident in June of last year that occurred at almost the exact same spot. The guard rail in this area is approximately four feet high, which is incredibly inadequate. The parkways in the New York City metro area were not originally built to accommodate commuters travelling at high speeds, and while the minivan is confirmed to have been speeding, efforts need to be made to not only enforce the speed limit on tri-state area parkways but to update their construction to make them more appropriate for modern use.
Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. acquiesced, "[The guard rail] really is not as tall as many of the [vehicle] doors here. So it's time at least in this portion of the parkway where it's elevated [...] to call for higher railings. If not, this is going to happen again." Bronx County and/or the New York State Department of Transportation could very well be considered at least partly responsible for this accident despite the van's high speed--what was in the road that caused the van to become airborne? Why has it taken so long to construct safer guard rails and to stem the ever-increasing speed of the flow of traffic? It remains to be seen whether the family of the victims will choose to take action against the city or the state.
The victims' ages have been in dispute in the press, and the New York Times and Los Angeles Times have come to the following consensus: The victims of Sunday afternoon's Bronx Zoo accident were the driver, 45-year-old Maria Gonzalez; her parents, 85-year-old Jacob Nunez and 81-year-old Ana Julia Martinez, who were visiting from the Dominican Republic; Gonzalez's sister, Maria Nunez, 39; Gonzalez's daughter, Jocelyn, 10; and Maria Nunez's two daughters, Niely Rosario, 7, and Marly Rosario, 3.