Uber driver killed in NYC ‘put everybody before himself’

The former West New York resident was described by his son as a highly educated man

WEST NEW YORK — The former West New York man who was killed driving for Uber in New York City Saturday night was a dedicated father and selfless, highly educated individual who had a career in the textile industry before turning to the ride-hailing app due to hard times, his younger son said in an interview Tuesday.

“He put everybody before himself, to a fault,” 31-year-old Andrew Tolk said of his father, Randolph Tolk, who was 68. “He was a smart man. I know he was an Uber driver, but he was highly educated. He graduated from the University of Miami in 1971. He got a master’s degree in textiles in Leicester, England, and worked in the textile industry.”

The elder Tolk died Saturday night following an altercation with a pedestrian in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. Authorities said 39-year-old Kohji Kosugi of Manhattan struck Tolk in the head with a hockey stick, then stepped on his chest as he lay on the ground.

Tolk got back in his car after the encounter, but crashed several blocks later, and was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Authorities said Kosugi was arrested Sunday and charged with manslaughter.

Andrew Tolk said his father was living in Brooklyn, where he was from originally, though he said he maintained a post office box in West New York.

Condolences filled Tolk’s Facebook page, some from his old neighbors in Hudson County.

Andrew Tolk said his parents met while students at the University of Miami, and were married Sept. 16, 1973. They eventually settled on Boulevard East in West New York, where they raised Andrew and his older brother, Prescott, who now lives in Los Angeles.

Randolph Tolk had three grandchildren, including Andrew’s two children and Prescott’s son. Randolph Tolk and his wife, Barbara, were separated, and Barbara was living in Las Vegas with Andrew.

Uber said Tolk was not on a work trip when the incident occurred.

Andrew Tolk said his father began driving for Uber after losing his job working with fabrics several years ago.

“That’s what he loved,” his son said. “It was very hard.”

Steve Strunsky may be reached at sstrunsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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Source:: New Jersey Real-Time News


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