Police, Prosecutors Continue to Let Curb-Jumping Motorists Off the Hook

Police surveyed this scene, where two children were seriously injured, and decided not to issue any summonses or charges to tImage: NY1
Police surveyed this scene, where two children were seriously injured after a motorist crashed through a fence and into their yard, and decided not to issue any summonses or charges to the driver. Image: ##http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/128938/queens-girl-in-critical-condition-after-being-struck-by-car##NY1##

Twice in the last two days, motorists have injured people after driving off New York City streets, over sidewalks, and into private property. Despite a new law on the books designed to hold motorists more accountable for reckless driving, police have not issued so much as a traffic summons to either driver.

Yesterday afternoon, two children were seriously injured while playing in their own yard in Springfield Gardens, Queens after a driver careened off the road, plowed through a fence, and struck them. The Daily News reports:

Investigators believe the driver, Anthony Grays, 39, of Fresh Meadows, Queens, crashed because he was distracted by an argument with his passenger, a 25-year-old woman with an order of protection against him, police said.

The black Mercury Sable was heading west on North Conduit Blvd. when it crashed through a fence at the home on 160th St. in Springfield Gardens and slammed into the kids about 4:56 p.m., cops and witnesses said.

The 4-year-old girl, Aicha Sylla, and her 11-year-old brother, Tydian Sylla, were taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, police said. She was in critical condition; he was stable.

According to the Post, Grays admitted that he’d been arguing with his passenger at the time of the crash. Yet, as of this afternoon, the only charge against him is criminal contempt for violating the order of protection, according to NYPD’s public information office. Police have not issued so much as a traffic summons to Grays for driving so carelessly that he crashed into someone’s yard and sent two kids to the hospital.

And last night, three women were hurt when a cab driver rammed into the SoHo restaurant Cafe Habana:

The cab “went through a restaurant door and hit the women. They all fell down,” said witness Mohammad Azam, 40, a limo driver from New Jersey. “I got out of my car, and they all were crying.”

The driver was not charged or issued a ticket.

Since Hayley and Diego’s Law went into effect, drivers in New York are guilty of careless driving if they injure a pedestrian or cyclist while failing to exercise due care. After this recent rash of serious injuries caused by curb-jumping motorists, it’s worth asking: What will it take for police and prosecutors to start putting the law to use? Can we agree that driving one’s multi-ton vehicle off the road and into unsuspecting bystanders constitutes careless driving?

Streetsblog is checking in with bill sponsors Dan Squadron and Brian Kavanagh to see if there are efforts underway to make law enforcement more aware of the new tools at their disposal to deter dangerous driving. We’ll keep you posted.

  • Take the complaints direct to the NYPD twice a month at Critical Mass rides! And hit up your local precinct community council meeting to ask for more enforcement that actually makes us safer!

    NYPD is too cowardly to challenge motorists either through due process of law, or in the streets by riding bikes themselves. And like any hierarchy, this cowardice comes from the top.

    Kelly and Bloomburg, your statistics are not working.

  • The only way someone should not be held accountable is if they are having a medical crisis while driving, like a heart attack. Otherwise, they should be prosecuted.

  • Marco

    Disgusting. Let’s just hope that they’re still figuring out the charges, and will file soon.

  • This begs for coverage from the crack investigative reporting team of Marica Kramer et al at CBS2.

    Why are motorists driving onto sidewalks in the first place? Simply because sidewalks exist, and for that we can thank a bunch of pointy-headed municpal bureaucrats and “urban planners.”

    We all know that sidewalks are an outlandish and unnecessary convenience that pose a serious obstacle to motorists.


  • “Oops.”

  • Bill

    You want cops to get paid for doing actual work?!!

    C’mon, it’s not like they’re postal workers. Oh, wait…

  • Someone who injured kids or restaurant patrons while operating a crane or a backhoe would certainly be cited — why is it any different when the heavy machinery you’re operating carelessly is a passenger vehicle?

  • Is there any scope for the victims to bring a suit against the NYPD for not enforcing the law?

  • PR

    ummm, NY needed a law against this?

  • EL

    Hope the kids and the restaurant patrons will be OK. As a side note, I wonder why the 25-year old woman would get into the car of the person whom she filed a restraining order against.

  • Joe R.

    Sadly, police continue to buy the “I lost control” excuse. It’s not like these people are driving in the Indianapolis 500 at 220 mph where you can indeed easily lose control and crash. We’re talking about driving 30 or 40 mph on easy to navigate streets here. If you “lose control” under these circumstances, you frankly are incompetent and should have your license revoked.

  • Emily Litella

    Everybody now! “Cops are motorists too, wackadoo, wackadoo, wackadoo!”

    (sung to the tune of Kids are People Too) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVprDJ9urO4

  • @Emily Litella

    Agreed. The NYPD have a conflict of interest when it comes to traffic enforcement. Why would they press charges that *they themselves* could easily be charged with.

  • Curbside bollards. Put them along as much sidewalk space in this city as possible. Unprotected sidewalks are a relic of a slower, horse-drawn age.

    If the NYPD has no interest pressing charges then let the motorists smash and crash into the barriers instead of pedestrians and bicyclists.

  • Until cops ditch the windshield perspective and start losing life and limb like the rest of us vulnerable street users, they will only encourage murderous motorists to drive recklessly through non-enforcement.

    Contact Ray Kelly, your city council person, and your local NYPD precinct to ask for one thing: COPS ON BIKES NOW!

    Otherwise we have to wait for the oil to stop flowing for our blood to stop flowing in the streets.

  • Steven F

    Has anyone heard from the Queens or Manhattan DA’s offices yet?
    Those are the guys that actually bring the charges and fight the case in court – or see to it that it never gets to court.

    The cops are “only following orders” – and yes, I am fully aware of the implications of that quote.

  • two words: class action

  • Donna M

    Unfortunately, 4 year old Aicha Sylla did pass away three days after the accident. Her brother Tydian recovered after a week and has now returned back to school. The 25 year old woman was in the car with the man because some women just like to waste the courts time with restraining orders, that they never follow and still get back with the loser boyfriend because they are stupid!


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