Streetsblog Files TLC Complaint Over Reported West Village Fatality

Streetsblog has filed a complaint with the Taxi and Limousine Commission over a crash that reportedly killed a pedestrian in the West Village.

Absent criminal charges or a consumer complaint, the Taxi and Limousine Commission takes no action against cab drivers who harm pedestrians. Photo: Daily News

On May 2 at about 9:54 p.m., a 70-year-old woman walking her dog was crossing Jane Street near Hudson Street when she was hit by the driver of a yellow cab, according to FDNY and published reports. The victim suffered head trauma and was transported to Bellevue. Two days later, we were informed by a reader that, according to the 6th Precinct, the woman died from her injuries. NYPD would not confirm the fatality.

A story in DNAinfo reported that the cab driver was not charged. Unless a cabbie faces criminal charges, or a consumer files a complaint, the Taxi and Limousine Commission has no lawful basis for action against a driver who harms a pedestrian, a TLC spokesperson told Streetsblog. Potential sanctions include the suspension of a driver’s TLC license, and additional actions can be taken based on the outcome of a case.

The spokesperson could not immediately determine whether action is pending against the driver involved in the West Village crash. There are two “drivers of record” for the cab in question, the spokesperson said.

At least two other cab crashes have killed city pedestrians this year. Dan Fellegara, 29, and 5-year-old Timothy Keith were hit by yellow cab drivers in Manhattan in Brooklyn, respectively. An unnamed cyclist was also fatally struck by a livery cab driver in Queens. Police and prosecutors filed no known charges for any of those deaths.

The inability of the Taxi and Limousine Commission to act against dangerous cab drivers in the absence of a complaint, given that the affected consumer may or may not be alive to file one, is of a piece with the NYPD policy of exonerating motorists who kill based on nothing more than their own testimony.

Using information about the West Village crash obtained from FDNY, NYPD and the Daily News, including photos depicting the cab’s medallion number and, reportedly, the driver, I filed a reckless driving complaint with the TLC, in my name, via 311. Our hope is to learn what happened at Hudson and Jane on the night of May 2, and at the very least establish a record of the incident with the TLC.

Complaints against cab drivers can take months to play out. In the interim, Streetsblog will keep you updated on what we know of this reported fatality.

This story originally stated that TLC action against a cab driver is contingent on the outcome of a criminal case. The copy has since been corrected.

  • Anonymous

    What the hell is with the rules that keep the TLC from doing anything to drivers who run people over. I drive at work and if I ran someone over, I would be in deep shit, probably even if it was their fault. Guess I should drive a cab instead if I want to play with life and death with no consequences.

  • Davidbloom

    Did you see a picture of the driver after the crash? He seemed annoyed that he had to wait.

  • Matt

    Thanks for doing this valuable work.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    My pet thing is event recorders. I, perhaps naively, advocate their universal installation on all motor vehicles.

    Maybe, probably for the wrong reasons (xenophobia?), the political class could be convinced to install them on TLC vehicles. Bring a little order from the chaos.

  • Anonymous

    You should get this tenacious about people hitting their heads on taxi partitions and getting killed by it. The partitions are illegal.

  • KillMoto

    @e90deb40130d32597a49c8b72e9c7116:disqus Great idea, but we also need 100% confirmation of who was driving, not “there are two drivers of record”.  We need the ignition key of every automobile to be the license itself, plus perhaps a thumb print scan and secret PIN.  Computers use these things for logging on, why not automobile ignition/operation?  

  • A Padre

    everyone should report any taxi violation no matter how small via 311 or the TLC/nyc dot gov site. you need only the medallion number, date, time and location. there is a persistent violator program for those guilty of 3 or more violations. i myself report even parking violations. confession: i was out on my bike for 1 hour recently and reported the 7 taxi’s blocking the bike lane that i witnessed

  • Ian Turner

    What was the outcome of this complaint?

  • Brad Aaron

    We don’t know. A TLC investigator — I believe she was an attorney — contacted me a few times, but when I followed up later to check on the complaint she stopped returning my calls, and I did not receive any further TLC correspondence.

    Still, we are not finished with this story.

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