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.