Man, 71, Succumbs to Injuries Following Pedestrian Strike

Ronald A. Sarno, 71, of Ridgewood, died after being struck by a car on N. Walnut St. Tuesday night.

A pedestrian struck by a car less than a block from his Ridgewood home on Tuesday night has died as a result of his injuries, authorities confirmed.

Ronald A. Sarno, 71, was clad in a dark business suit Tuesday night when he was struck by a Lexus sedan while was crossing N. Walnut Street near the T.D. Bank and Stop & Shop. He was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center suffering from a head injury but died early Friday morning.

Numerous agencies have been investigating the accident. Police earlier this week said the driver, a 48-year-old Ridgewood man, had not been cited. Police did not say Saturday if that had changed.

The victim – who has lived nearby on N. Walnut Street for 25 years – did not use the crosswalk, police said. 

According to his obituary, Sarno was a well-respected lawyer who previously worked as jesuit educator and a hospital administrator. He was also a published author and a judge at a moot court at Yale College, the obituary states.

Sarno leaves behind his wife of 38 years, Una McGinley Sarno, and a daughter, Niamh.

Mass will be celebrated at Mt. Carmel RC Church on Monday at 9:30 a.m.

SR res March 10, 2013 at 12:11 PM
It appears that others can see that the police aren't enforcing the laws as well.
Walks alot March 10, 2013 at 01:11 PM
First of all my condolences to the Sarno family. I can't even imagine the pain of having your husband and father taken from you so suddenly. I don't understand the lack of urgency on the part of our elected officials and police around the issue of pedestrian safety in town. What other public safety issue has caused multiple deaths or serious injuries over the past few years. We can't have swings at playgrounds because someone could be hurt, but we tolerate multiple pedestrian stikes year after year. James can you do an article listing all of the pedstrians that have been hit in Ridgewood over the past four years, and include the severity of their injuries and where the accident happened? Just off the top of my head I think that at least 2 people have been killed on or very near Franklin and one woman was very seriously injured. I think we need to make our streets safer now. The one way idea is interesting. Limiting access to some of the side streets from Franklin may also make it safer.
Craig Hueneke March 10, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Whooa there SR res... To make that claim exposes your ignorance. Just yesterday while at a fundraiser at Van Neste Park I sat there and watch Officer Elwood for a number of hours watching out and controlling traffic for pedestrians crossing Ridgewood Ave like a father watching his children cross that street. The problem with situations like this is that the pedestrians are just as much at fault as the drivers and to point the finger at the good folks at the Ridgewood Police Department is a joke! The bottom line is this... NO ONE wants to hit someone and NO ONE wants to be hit by a car, but when man and machine merge this is what happens sometimes. Unfortunately.
paul smith March 10, 2013 at 04:19 PM
I don't know about cops in sr but cops in rw do keep an eye on the ped crossings. This one is another total tragedy. Do you expect them to be at every crossing 24 hrs a day?
Mark Bombace March 10, 2013 at 04:23 PM
I have been saying for many years to make E. Ridgewood a one way street and Franklin Ave another one way street. This way pedestrians only have to look only one way. I would also make the speed limit in town 15 mph. In making the streets one way you could also add more parking spots. This also makes pedestrians exposed to shorter travel distances from curb to curb and less exposed to vehicles. All together this would reduce accidents and the degree of injuries while adding precious parking spots for businesses. George Santayana 1952 said " Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it." I could not agree more.
James Jr. March 10, 2013 at 04:24 PM
This is a sad sorry and there are probably a couple of factors that could have contributed to this terrible accident. One thing to note, knowing the location well, this street is prone to street lights that are repeated out including the street light right next to Stop & Shop's driveway. I am not aware if that street light was out at the time of the accident, however the accident does appear near it. Without blaming PSEG for this accident, I have to say their response to reported street light outages are horrible and some accident do occur where street lights were out (and been previously reported to PSEG with no action). Street lights may not prevent all accidents but may allow better sight for the driver and pedestrian.
Elexis March 10, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Ron was an extraordinary man! He had a heart of gold. He was an angel on Earth and is now an angel in heaven. This is not time to point fingers. It is time to find a solution! I can say that Ron's family is beyond distraught. His daughter, Niamh, (pronounced neev,) cannot so much as let me drive her past TD bank and is now afraid to drive a car. I find it distasteful to print that Ron was wearing dark clothing and was not in the crosswalk. No one in the police dept knows if he was in the crosswalk or not; they arrived after the accident. Ron was a big man, his ribs and sternum were just some of the bones broken in his body. His head trauma was so significant that he died from it. I think it is fair to say that those injuries indicate that his body was thrown out of the crosswalk. Also, there was a video of his body being rolled into the ambulance as his body made involuntary movements due to his head trauma. That was removed after Ron's daughter went to the Ridgewood Police Dept in disbelief and pain. Mayor Cronk was kind and went to Ron's home to personally apologize on behalf of The Patch to Niamh. Respect should be paid to the Sarno Family. The driver of the car should be treated as innocent until proven otherwise. The police are not omnipresent or psychic; they did what they were supposed to do when they were called. Blame will not prevent the next casualty!
DD March 10, 2013 at 09:09 PM
It sounds like this individual was not crossing at a crosswalk. This unfortunate incident doesn't support your claim that the system is not working.
DD March 10, 2013 at 09:10 PM
What would you have had the police do to prevent this? The driver, apparently, didn't receive a ticket, so no wrong-doing was found.
paul smith March 10, 2013 at 10:50 PM
This is an incredible tragedy and agree that finger pointing is not appropriate and the driver should be considered innocent until the investigation is closed. When John Heuser was tragically hit 2 odd years ago it was by an idiot driver and the police issued a number of summonses on the spot but (unfortunately) it appears she got off easy. In this case a number of factors including street lights that keep going out played into this. It is not the fault of the police and a lack of RPD presence, it is an incredibly tragic accident.
Harlan Consider March 10, 2013 at 10:51 PM
There really is only one solution and it's a solution that many people do not want. The solution is traffic-light controlled crossings. They aren't 100-percent effective, as there will always be accidents due to drivers or pedestrians not stopping or going when they are supposed to. However, they completely eliminate the whole issue of "I didn't see him/her crossing" or the "he'she just marched out". As for those pedestrians that get hit outside of a crosswalk, there really isn't much that can be done about that, and the reality is that those accidents are actually quite rare.
Steve March 11, 2013 at 04:17 AM
What a sad story. But our town's commerce and careless pedestrians are also part of the problem . I frequently drive East on Godwin Ave. and as soon as I round the corner by MacMurphy's I see parents and their young children crossing smack dab in the middle of the road on their way to the newly-opened Carlo's bake shop. They park in train station lot across from Carlo's and do not use any of the crosswalks when walking across Godwin. The same goes for the pedestrian and vehicular traffic coming in and out of Whole Foods. What are these retailers doing to remind their customers of their reckless behavior???
Steve March 11, 2013 at 04:20 AM
And for a few weeks, put a cop there to issue warnings/summonses, too.
Anne LaGrange Loving March 11, 2013 at 04:31 AM
For those who unfairly blame the Ridgewood Police for pedestrian accidents, you should read the article in today's New York Times entitled "Is It Safe to Cross?" The very high risks involved in crossing the street are not limited to Ridgewood. Our Ridgewood police force has nothing to do with whether a driver or a pedestrian is careless. Here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/nyregion/after-a-spate-of-vehicular-deaths-is-it-safe-to-cross-the-road.html
Sheryl March 11, 2013 at 10:28 AM
Sad to hear of another incident. This is tragic for the pedestrian as well as the driver. Pedestrians need to use the crosswalks. I don't know how many times I have driven down Ridgewood ave and had someone just pop out from between cars. A lot of times it's mothers with kids. Please walk the few yards to the crosswalk where you will be safe. Why don't the police focus on the jay walkers once in a while
DD March 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Uh, what laws?
jp1 March 11, 2013 at 12:38 PM
It is not the retailers responsibility for the stupidity of the parents. You see this all over Ridgewood and police are partly to blame.
kevin March 11, 2013 at 04:01 PM
not sure how making E Ridgewood ave a one way will stop, decrease or prevent pedestrians from not crossing at crooswalks.
RWDsRiches March 11, 2013 at 06:48 PM
I think the police in this town do a good job, but I would like to see them nab more people for not stopping at a stop sign. You see it all over Ridgewood, especially people trying to make a left and ignoring either the crosswalk or oncoming traffic. Getting somewhere on time is not worth anybody's life people.
ridgewood resident March 12, 2013 at 12:07 AM
The article clearly states that the risk of pedestrian fatalities decreases as the speed of the car decreases: "Studies indicate that the fatality rate drops to 45 percent when a person is struck by a car going 30 miles per hour and to 5 percent at 20 miles per hour or less. But although speeding is the chief cause of fatal car crashes in New York, the city does not do nearly enough at the level of enforcement. " Could the Ridgewood police department help us enforce the speed limit? And/or could the limit be decreased? Yes, the high risks are not limited to Ridgewood. Let's try to learn from others. This problem is not unsolvable.
TB March 12, 2013 at 12:36 AM
15 mph speed limit makes sense. Speed bumps will force cars to slow cars down. Although this tragic incident occured in the daytime, well lit crosswalks will encourage pedestrians to use them. And "yield to pedestrian" signs should be placed at all intersections. Not sure about making Franklin a one way street. I can see that being a speed zone where drivers have more room to speed around slower drivers.
Ely March 12, 2013 at 03:04 AM
My heart goes out to the Sarno family.. I cannot imagine their pain. I seriously don't understand how this is a driver issue and not a pedestrian issue. Cross in a crosswalk it's as simple as that. It's obvious by the lack of summons issued that the drive wasn't in the wrong.. It's time for people to take some personal responsibility and stop relying on 'big governnent' you can't put a light at every corner and a stop sign on every street. This was obviously an unimaginably tragic accident but a stop sign or a light in the middle of a side street wouldn't have prevented it.
disgusted March 12, 2013 at 07:19 AM
police don't enforce meters they have civillians to do that
disgusted March 12, 2013 at 07:24 AM
your idea was under the microscope in the 90's when the cigar squad was running the council, they got voted out of office before the could get it done Irwin was the vm at the time.
disgusted March 12, 2013 at 07:30 AM
sr if a person crosses the street midblock they do so at their own risk there is no statue for that, jaywalking is when you walk diagonally from curb to curb and the cop has to witness it or an uninvolved witness has to come forward how often do you think that happens
TB March 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Many people have already been struck in Ridgewood crossing in walks with the right of way. By your argument, why have any signs. Do away with traffic lights. This has nothing to do with big government but everything to do with common sense.
DD March 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM
TB suggests that by Ely's logic, we should do away with all signs and traffic lights. That's obviously a gross misinterpretation of the point Ely was making.
TB March 13, 2013 at 01:54 PM
And Ely's comment, "It's time for people to take some personal responsibility and stop relying on 'big government' you can't put a light at every corner and a stop sign on every street." isn't an obvious gross misinterpretation of my point?
DD March 13, 2013 at 03:52 PM
I see no indication that Ely was responding to your point directly. So, no, it wasn't.
Steve March 16, 2013 at 11:28 PM
I am not saying the retailers are responsible for the carelessness of people, JP. But wouldn't it be a nice thing for the retailers to do if they at least had a sign in their store that reminded people of safe crossing? It's called being a good neighbor/good business in the community. Not a big deal for them to do.


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