Xochil Zack Fortune
27 years old

As Zack Fortune grew up with a single mother in Orlando, Florida, he developed a special relationship with his Grandpa Tharp. Zack spent a lot of time as a boy at Tharp’s auto body shop, tinkering and repairing cars and talking about his plans to “make it big” in business and take care of his mom.

“They were close,” said Zack’s aunt, Jenny La Sala. “They were joined at the hip.” Tharp appreciated his grandson’s ambition, and told him, “Go build your own empire.”

In 1999, shortly before Zack’s twelfth birthday, he and his family suffered a blow: Grandpa Tharp was struck and killed by a van. “It had a tremendous impact on all of us, but on Zack especially,” his aunt recalled. “But those years, they had helped him grow into a wonderful young man. He was very positive. He never let anything stop him.”

When Zack moved to New York City at the age of 23, he set about building his empire – not in cars but music. He built his reputation as a producer, engineer and DJ, and was planning to move to L.A. “He was on the verge of making it,” La Sala said. “But he is with his beloved Grandpa now.”

This collision happened on June 10, 2014 near Broadway and Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. See details in the Mean Streets Tracker.

Mean Streets 2014: Who We Lost, How They Lived

Throughout 2014, WNYC tracked the 265 men, women and children killed in traffic crashes in New York City. In addition to reporting the circumstances of their deaths, we looked at who they were in life: mothers, fathers, grandparents, students, recent immigrants and native New Yorkers. To read some of their stories, click on a photograph.