Woman killed in Chinatown car crash outside NYU’s Lafayette Hall

A woman who is not affiliated with NYU was hit by a driver outside a university residence hall in Chinatown on Monday morning.

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(Courtesy of Amaka Nwokocha)

Lauren Ashe, Deputy News Editor

An 83-year-old woman was struck and killed by the driver of a pickup truck just outside of Lafayette Hall, on the corner of Lafayette Street and White Street in Chinatown, at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 5. First responders arrived at the scene shortly afterward, where they found the woman seriously injured, according to police. The woman was transported to Bellevue Hospital and soon pronounced dead. Police later identified her as Man Chang, of lower Manhattan.

Joe Liberatore, the residence hall director at NYU’s nearby Lafayette Hall dorm, informed residents of the incident shortly before 11 a.m. on Monday. He confirmed that the individual who was struck was not affiliated with NYU and noted that there would be an increased NYPD presence at the intersection while the incident was investigated. He also referred to the incident as a hit-and-run, but the driver of the 2022 Dodge Ram, a 35-year-old man, remained on the scene where he was questioned by police. The NYPD Highway Collision Investigation Squad is investigating the incident.

Liberatore added that there was no threat to the residence hall or surrounding community, and offered mental health resources to residents via the Wellness Exchange or the dorm’s leadership team.

Megan Maxfield, a CAS junior, was leaving the building with her roommate when a Campus Safety officer told her that she would have to go to Canal Street to ride the shuttle. Maxfield and her roommate were not told why and found out through the Citizen app after seeing blood on the street and police tape surrounding the scene. She says that the incident prompted her to be more vigilant in the area. 

“It doesn’t really concern me with Lafayette, because obviously it has nothing to do with the building, but it is definitely a concern in New York in general,” Maxfield said. “I have definitely noticed that a lot of cars speed down that road.”

The exterior of NYU Lafayette Hall from the diagonal corner of the street.
NYU’s Lafayette residence hall in Chinatown. (Samson Tu for WSN) 

Steinhardt sophomore Amaka Nwokocha was heading to take NYU’s shuttle to campus around 9 a.m. when she noticed several police officers and blood on the pavement in front of the residence hall on White Street. Lafayette Street was closed down and she did not see the bus coming so she decided to take the train.

After she got out of her 9:30 a.m. class, she received an email from her Residence Hall Director. She says that she and other students were frustrated that there was no information given to them about the rerouted bus stops. WSN was not able to confirm whether an alert was sent about the rerouting through NYU’s shuttle service app.

“We didn’t get any communication until later in the morning even though obviously a lot of people have morning classes and we’re affected by it,” Nwokocha said. “It would have been really helpful if we knew what was going on in some degree earlier this morning.” 

Students have previously expressed frustration about a lack of communication from the university about incidents that happen near campus. Last April, a man shot 10 people and injured at least a dozen others in a violent attack on the subway system in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. NYU Campus Safety and the dean of the Tandon School of Engineering sent messages hours after the shooting that disrupted commutes to and from campus.

Contact Lauren Ashe at [email protected]