While crossing Plandome Road from eastbound to westbound on the Park Avenue intersection, pedestrian Shan Ding, 79, was struck by a car going northbound on Plandome Road. The incident occurred on Sunday, Feb. 9, at around 8 p.m. and Ding was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 11:52 p.m. She suffered multiple injuries, including a broken spine, according to the Nassau County Police Department and Ding’s family.
Rob Donno, a resident of Manhasset, was driving home northbound on Plandome Road when he stopped his car after he became aware of the scene. Donno went to the back of his car to get a ski jacket to cover the woman because he knew that victims of accidents can be in shock and keeping them warm is one of the first things first responders do. By the time he got to Ding, a police officer waved him off from putting the jacket over her.
“I knew she was seriously injured cause her body was crumbled up and her shoes were off,” Donno said. “You got to get hit pretty hard to get knocked out of your shoes. There were no motions. The police officer turned her over and I thought she said, ‘I don’t feel a pulse.’ I thought they were going to do CPR, but by that time, the ambulances were coming.”
An investigation is currently ongoing by police, but the driver, also a 79-year-old woman, has not been charged with anything as of yet. The vehicle that hit Ding was a 2018 Toyota, according to police, and was brake and safety checked.
Police also said that Ding was thrown 20 yards from where the car struck her and that a witness stated that the light was green when Ding crossed Plandome Road in dark clothing. Video footage was pulled from For Five Coffee by police as part of the investigation.
Very few details were known about Ding until her family unexpectedly came to the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations (Greater Council) on Thursday, Feb. 13. Ding’s two daughters and son-in-law spoke to the group about their grief and the accident that took their family member’s life.
“This was a beautiful, intelligent and smart woman,” Ding’s daughter Hui Rong Samaroo said. “She had the right to walk across the street, but nobody had the right to kill her on the street.”
Ding and her family are Manhasset residents, having lived in the area since 2014. She’s a Chinese national and has permanent resident status in the U.S. via a green card. She would split her time between China and the U.S., spending about three months out of the year back in her hometown Chuzhou, China.
“She was brave,” Ding’s son-in-law Danny Samaroo said. “She was not feeble. She was fully functional. She travels from China back and forth.”
Ding, a former chef for the national railroad in China, leaves behind four daughters and one son, her husband passed away from natural causes several years ago. Most of Ding’s family resides in China and were not able to attend her cremation ceremony on Monday, Feb. 17 because of the travel ban imposed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
“I’m not blaming the lady, I don’t know the condition she was driving in,” Danny said. “Yes, we are looking for answers. I know it’s not a customary in the U.S. for the person who caused the accident to say they’re sorry to the family. But it would be nice if we can, but I don’t think it will happen. It’s not the U.S. way anymore.”
However, Danny does feel that some punishment is warranted for the driver that killed his mother-in-law.
“I think she should have been charged with negligence,” Danny said. “It’s my understanding that if somebody is crossing on the crosswalk, irrespective green light, red light, the driver also has a responsibility to try to stop.”
Through email exchange with the Greater Council, Supervisor Judi Bosworth said of the fatal incident, “Councilwoman [Veronica] Lurvey and I were deeply saddened to hear about the tragic event that occurred on Sunday night on Plandome Road. Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of the deceased. The safety of our residents is of paramount importance. We have been in contact with the Nassau County Police Department and are awaiting further details regarding the incident.”