Purabi Nandi fatally hit in crosswalk

Pedestrians crossing at the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike Pedestrians crossing at the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike and North Franklin Street. (Jan. 10, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

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On a warm July evening in 2009, Purabi Nandi and a visiting friend set out to pick up some groceries.

Nandi, 68, who was an urban planner before arriving in the United States, had lived in East Meadow since 1973. Her home was on the south side of Hempstead Turnpike. The nearest food store, a Super Stop & Shop, was on the north side.

Because it was such a nice night, Nandi and her friend decided to walk.

On the way back shortly before 10 p.m., they waited for the signal at the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike and Newbridge Road, where the turnpike spans eight lanes. Nandi was not in the crosswalk, police said, and had almost reached the other side when a driver, making a right turn, struck her.

She was pronounced dead at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. The driver was not charged.

"My mom's demographic is more and more typical on Long Island," said her son, Saumya Nandi, 40, who lives in Chicago. "For their health and their activity, I think it's good for people like that to be walking, but in general it's just not a pedestrian-friendly place.

"If you think about the two sides of Hempstead Turnpike as a single community, you've got to figure out a way for people to walk across it in a safe way."

Purabi was born in India and married Sakti Nandi, an engineer, in 1965. They moved to the United States and raised their son and daughter on Long Island; both Purabi and her husband became U.S. citizens.

After her husband's death in 2003, Purabi drew on her strong network of family and friends. She had become a grandmother shortly before her death.

"She was a great mom, grandma and aunt," her son said. "She was really enjoying her life."

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