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Street Co-Named in Honor of 17-Year-Old Who Was Killed Crossing Whitestone Intersection

Nov. 25, 2019 By Kristen Torres

Elected officials co-named a Whitestone Street last week to honor a 17-year-old girl who was fatally struck by a car while crossing Utopia Parkway last year.

The corner of 16th Avenue and Utopia Park was co-named “Madeline Sershen Way” Thursday — the intersection where she was killed.

Sershen was struck by an 88-year-old driver who ran a red light in June 2018. Sheila Kahn-Prager’s car struck the teen as she was crossing the street on a crosswalk with the light.

Kahn-Prager later told police she didn’t see Sershen or the red light, according to then-District Attorney Richard Brown. She ultimately pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and gave up her license.

“Today, we unveil this tribute to her [Madeline], which won’t bring her back, but will honor her forever,” said Madeline’s sister, Olivia Sershen, at last week’s unveiling.

Community members also gathered at the ceremony, which began with a candlelight vigil.

“Sershen lived a brief but very bright life and was clearly loved by so many in the northeast Queens community,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, whose district includes Whitestone.

After Sershen’s death, more than 20,000 people signed an online petition calling for legislation to be passed that would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to test drivers over 80 every two years. Kahn-Prager signed the petition as part of her plea.

Currently, no special road tests are required for seniors and they are able to renew their license every 8 years like all drivers.

“I ask you all to remember Maddie…not just here on Madeline Sershen Way, but at every crosswalk you pass, every red light you stop at, with every pedestrian you see walking,” Olivia Sershen said.

 

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