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Marchers Say Teen's Gerritsen Beach Death Was Avoidable, Demand Action From City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Over the weekend a 17-year-old was killed after a suspected drunk driver ran him down in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn.

On Monday night, a vigil and march were held for the senseless tragedy.

As CBS2's Brian Conybeare reported, it started with hugs and tears, and grew into hundreds of people silently marching down Gerritsen Avenue in Brooklyn in honor of Sean Ryan, the Iona College bound recent high school graduate.

"Sean was the greatest kid you'll ever meet in your life," John Paul Stallone said.

Sean was hit and killed by a white car while riding his bike on Sunday night. Damage at the scene showed how violent the impact was.

Police said 24-year-old Thomas Goarke was driving drunk when it happened.

Heartbroken family and friends lit memorial candles and called for drivers to slow down.

"Speeding up this avenue, it's ridiculous. Too many people have lost their lives and it has to stop," a neighbor said.

The speed limit is 25 mph on Gerritsen Avenue and the city has installed a speed camera to automatically give tickets during school hours, but neighbors said it isn't enough.

"It's not fair. These people should not be dying like this," Ellie Turturro said.

Turturro's son Anthony survived a frighteningly similar accident when he was 12.

"I was hit by a car," he said.

In 2004, Anthony was riding his bike in the same spot as Ryan. The crash led to some safety improvements, but residents want speed bumps or more traffic lights installed.

"Where are the cops, where are the speed bumps?" one resident asked.

Marchers united in grief were passing a petition asking the city to make safety improvements.

"Right now it's not safe," one marcher said.

They hope to see a day when no more marches have to be held.


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