MIDTOWN (PIX11) — Police have identified the the traffic agent that was struck and killed by a truck in Midtown Saturday afternoon.
It happened around 2:30 p.m., when a vacuum truck was pulling away from a parking spot on the crowded block of 44th. St between Madison and Fifth Avenues.
The truck hit 71-year-old Kalyanarat Ranasinghe, an on-duty NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agent, pinning him underneath the wheel.
Ranasinghe was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The truck just moved three or four feet. He never saw the traffic agent,” Anthony Trinidad, a doorman across the street, told PIX 11. “He was not moving so I called 911.”
The accident happened right in front of the Cornell Club. A Cornell bus pulled up after the accident and hit the truck.
“Gutwrenching” was the word NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly used when he arrived at the scene.
“They don’t make a lot of money,” Kelly added. “It’s a dangerous job.”
NYPD traffic agents said Ranasinghe had been on the job for least five years.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement on Ranasinghe’s death.
“Earlier today, NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agent Kalyanarat Ranasinghe was struck and killed by a vehicle while on-duty in Midtown Manhattan. Kalyanarat, 71 years-old, served as member of the Department for more than six years. Every day, traffic enforcement agents play a critical role in making sure millions of New Yorkers can safely get to where they are going. The NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad is conducting an investigation of this terrible tragedy. On behalf of the entire city of New York, our thoughts and prayers are with the Ranasinghe family.”
There were no other injuries and police are still investigating the cause.