Thousands raised for victims of fatal Bensonhurst crash

One car involved in the crash ended up totaled on the sidewalk near a bus stop in Bensonhurst.
One car involved in the crash ended up totaled on the sidewalk near a bus stop.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Brooklynites pulled together to raise thousands of dollars for the victims of a fatal Bensonhurst car crash last Monday, which killed two people and left several others injured. 

Stancho Stanchev and Yuet Leung were both named as the victims of the bloody incident, which occurred just before 1 p.m. at the intersection of 64 Street and 18 Avenue on March 20.

Police arrested 49-year-old Vitaliy Konoplyov on the scene for allegedly causing the collision after blowing through a red light and smashing his white sedan into two vehicles.

The NYPD Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad determined that after running the red light, Konoplyov’s 2015 Toyota Camry struck a Honda HRV operated by Stanchev, spinning the car out of control and into the path of Leung.

The Toyota Camry continued through the intersection, striking another vehicle before coming to a stop after hitting a traffic signal pole, according to an NYPD spokesperson.

Stanchev, 51, a realtor for Ben Bay Realty, was running errands that afternoon accompanied by his wife in the passenger seat when the crash occurred. Emergency services transported the Stanchezs to Maimonides Medical Center, where Stancho was pronounced dead and his wife treated for her injuries.

Ben Bay Realty set up the online fundraiser for Stanchev’s son to “alleviate the enormous financial pressure they now face as a result of this horrific tragedy” and to cover “as many medical bills, necessities, and expenses as possible, in addition to whatever he and his mother may need during this time.”

“Stancho had not only been a truly valued member of our team, but our good friend as well. He will be sorely missed more than words can express.” Stanchev’s colleague, Donna Prestia, wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Please keep Stancho’s family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.”

With a goal of $50,000, the fundraiser for Stanchev’s family has so far raised over $4,200.

Another victim, 60-year-old Yuet ‘Betty’ Leung, was on her way home when she was killed while crossing the street, leaving behind her husband, children and a granddaughter. 

After finding Leung lying on the roadway with injuries to her head and body, EMS also transported her to Maimonides where she was pronounced dead.

Paramedics also rushed two other individuals to NYU Langone Hospital, where they are expected to recover.

“Anyone that knows her and their family can attest that they have always gone above and beyond for their family, friends, and strangers,” the fundraisers set up to support Leung’s family reads.

“Please help support this precious family as they navigate funeral expenses and any necessities that the family will need at this difficult time,” organizer Stephanie Tam wrote. “Please also take a moment and hug the people in your life as tomorrow is not a guarantee.”

City Council Member Justin Brannan, who represents nearby Bay Ridge, urged Brooklynites to support the fundraiser. 

“An unlicensed speeding reckless driver killed 2 and injured 5 other people this past Monday in Bensonhurst,” he said on Twitter. “60 year old grandmother Yuet ‘Betty’ Leung was killed while crossing street. Please give if you are able.”

Over $9,000 has been raised in memory of Leung, out of a goal of $50,000.

According to a NYPD spokesperson, Konoplyov remained on the scene and was taken into custody by police. He was arrested and charged on two counts of manslaughter and aggravated unlicensed operator.

“Because of the purposeful speeding & recklessness of just 1 driver, 2 New Yorkers are dead & 5 injured,” said local state senator Andrew Gounardes on Twitter, following the crash. “Praying for the victims & their families, & urging each of us to remember that our fellow drivers deserve to make it to their destinations alive.”

Since Jan. 1 of this year, there have been at least 7,130 automobile crashes, resulting in 43 total deaths on the streets of the Big Apple, according to CrashMapper

For more coverage of Bensonhurst, head to BrooklynPaper.com.