On June 25, a reckless driver ran a red light and struck 17-year-old Madeline Sershen as she at 16th Avenue and Utopia Parkway.
The 88-year-old driver had glaucoma and a history of unsafe driving. She surrendered her license and pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and received a year of probation.
At a candlelight vigil during which the same intersection was renamed “Madeline Sershen Way,” family members urged people to be reminded of how quickly a life can be taken through carelessness.
“I ask you all to remember Maddie and keep her alive not just here in this moment today, and 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,” said her sister Olivia Sershen. “We unveil this tribute to her, which won’t bring her back, but will honor her forever.”
Madeline Sershen was a senior at St. Francis Prep at the time of the accident. She attended Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament and P.S. 209.
After her untimely death, her family circulated a petition urging Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Motor Vehicles to require drivers over 80 years of age to be retested every two years. It garnered over 20,000 signatures.
Legislation to rename the intersection was sponsored by Councilman Paul Vallone.
“A beloved daughter, sister, aunt and an exceptional student and young woman, Madeline Sershen lived a brief but very bright life and was clearly loved by so many in the Northeast Queens community,” he said.