NYPD Denies High-Speed Chase in Death of Greenpoint Mom

fultonforsb2.jpgDeputy Inspector Dennis Fulton at last Monday’s 94th Precinct Community Council meeting.

The New York City Police Department denies that it was involved in a high-speed police chase preceding the vehicle-on-pedestrian collision that took the life of Violetta Kryzak, a 38-year-old Polish-American mother and Greenpoint resident, despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary first published by Streetsblog.

On Monday, at the 94th Precinct Community Council’s monthly meeting, Deputy Inspector Dennis Fulton, the precinct’s commanding officer, told approximately 40 assembled neighbors, “At this point it appears as though there was not a high-speed chase,” adding, “To make sure, it’s being investigated by our Internal Affairs Bureau. But it does not appear that anyone was following [the perpetrator].”

Fulton’s statement contradicts numerous eyewitness accounts of the fatal crash. Three weeks ago, I reported on this tragedy for Streetsblog, and everyone I spoke with seemed sure that the police had pursued a white mini-van up Manhattan Avenue at a very high speed. The day of the crash I was told by Kamil Uminski, a 20-year-old man who witnessed the van strike Violetta Kryzak, “There were two cops chasing a white van up the avenue.”

Less than an hour after I heard Deputy Inspector Fulton deny that there was a high-speed chase, I emailed with a neighborhood mom named Sydney, who claims to have seen an unmarked police vehicle pursuing the white mini-van. I don’t have Sydney’s last name, only her email address, as a mutual friend put us in touch when I told her I was writing a follow-up story about this incident. Sydney replied to my inquiry: “I was slowly driving down Manhattan Avenue between Bedford Ave. and Norman Ave. headed west [Editor’s note: eight blocks south of where the fatal collision took place] when the mini-van flew past my truck very close at an unbelievable speed nearly taking my rear view mirror with it. The van was occupying the opposite lane of Manhattan Avenue, which is a two-lane street and also headed west, in other words driving head-on into oncoming traffic. Seconds after the van passed my truck an undercover cop car in hot pursuit passed me traveling at the same speed and following the van as it weaved through traffic down the busy street.”

Yet another eyewitness, Cody Dennison, who claims to have seen police officers pursuing the white mini-van ten blocks south of the crash site, responded to an inquiry by email. He wrote: “The white mini-van was being pursued by a gray 4-door undercover police sedan with siren lights driving just as fast as the mini-van. I think there were two gray sedans but they were moving so fast I only saw one for sure. I saw the one gray sedan just as plain as day. And I said out loud, ‘Why would they chase the driver towards the precinct?’"

Why indeed? According to the NYPD Patrol Guide: “Department policy requires that a vehicle pursuit be terminated whenever the risks to uniformed members of the service and the public outweigh the danger to the community if [the] suspect is not immediately apprehended.”

An afternoon high-speed car chase down Manhattan Avenue, a relatively narrow two-way street with two travel lanes, two parking lanes, two bus routes, scores of storefronts, a handful of churches and high pedestrian volumes, must outweigh the danger posed to the community by all but the most dangerous criminals, let alone Jose Maldonado, the 28-year old car thief who struck and killed Violetta Kryzak.

Everyone in the neighborhood knows as much, and I imagine the police officers at the 94th Precinct do as well. Perhaps this is why Deputy Inspector Fulton denied that there was a chase: To admit as much would be to admit that his officer’s acted negligently and violated procedural guidelines.

Either that’s the case or the eyewitnesses I’ve spoken to are mistaken.

The police department has not responded to numerous requests for comment.

  • I hope the survivors of Ms. Kryzak find themselves a good lawyer. This can only be resolved by a civil case. Put those witnesses in front of a judge and jury and see what happens.

  • J-Uptown

    It’s unbelievable the lengths NYPD goes to to cover its ass. Lying and cover-ups are standard protocol. Admitting a mistake and addressing real policy are strictly forbidden. Is it any wonder that New Yorkers have such little respect for the NYPD?

    “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect”? Laughable.

  • Nice article Graham. You really captured the essence of the meeting last Monday.

    I am a licensed Private Investigator who works for the law firm that represents the victims family. I am looking for any witnesses to the chase and/or the crash. Please contact me at satellitepi@aol.com
    Thank you,

    Matthew Spaier

  • Does the NYPD archive its radio traffic? That might be a good resource in investigating this, and listening to how they handled the pursuit.

  • this isn’t the first time that D.I. Fulton’s actions contradict public statements. first, there was pandimonium where people were arrested for “rioting,” then came the unjust arrests of election night, and now this… hopefully, someone can help this man and his PcT clean up their act.

  • Anon

    I saw the accident after the ambulance showed up and they just taped off the block and this womans poor body was still on the pavement. There was a four door sedan still in the street lane with police lights where the regular lights are in the front and back flashing as they were stopped about 30 feet behind the ambulance. There were two men inside. I assume this was the vehicle chasing the perp with NO SIRENS ON.

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