Margaret Chin and 1,000 Citizens Ask NYPD to Investigate Pedestrian Death

Council Member Margaret Chin’s office has joined those calling for a full investigation into the death of Kwok Fu, the 82-year-old man who was struck by the driver of  a National Guard truck on Canal Street.

Following an email exchange with Streetsblog, Margaret Chin's office has pledged to ask NYPD to "fully investigate" the death of Kwok Fu.

A convoy of National Guard trucks was on its way to the Javits Center to pick up Sandy relief supplies on the afternoon of November 6 when Fu was killed as he attempted to cross Canal at Centre Street. Witnesses said convoy truck drivers did not slow down and gave no warning before running a series of red lights on Canal.

National Guard spokesperson Eric Durr told Streetsblog that the convoy was trailing a police escort. No published accounts of the crash made mention of an escort, and a man who had to step out of the way of the convoy, and who witnessed the collision, told Streetsblog he did not see one.

Durr claims that the National Guard is not investigating the crash, and referred our questions to NYPD, which in characteristic fashion has ignored our query.

After Streetsblog informed a Chin spokesperson that the National Guard has taken no responsibility and that police aren’t talking, the spokesperson said she would contact NYPD “and urge them to fully investigate this incident.”

The National Guard’s refusal to own up to its role and NYPD’s eternal silence are indicative of how city traffic fatalities are handled as a matter of course. This is not lost on the 1,000-plus who have signed an online petition calling for a full investigation into Fu’s death.

That a City Council member would have to ask Ray Kelly’s NYPD to investigate a fatality is a telling indicator of the state of New York City traffic enforcement. Worse still, considering that police have not responded to Dan Garodnick, who made a similar request concerning the crash that killed Upper East Side pedestrian Rubin Baum, it’s not known what if anything such pleas accomplish.

To prod NYPD to take action to ensure justice for Kwok Fu, to help prevent the next traffic fatality, and to hold NYPD accountable for slapdash crash investigations and loosen the department’s grip on crash information, the council will have to act as a body. A first step would be passage of the Crash Investigation Reform Act, which would bring the formation of a multi-agency task force charged with assessing NYPD crash investigation practices and recommending reforms. The package of bills has gone nowhere in the four months since it was introduced.

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who is up for reelection in 2013, does not comment on vehicular crimes.

  • saynotocops

    Mow down one of those pigs’ family members and see if they just ignore it.

  • Bob

    Based on what I see every day in chinatown, where pedestrians treat streets as a game of chicken, I think its safe to assume he stepped into the convoy.  There were no traffic rules because there were no traffic lights. 

  • Ian Turner

    @ff38ca9b84b9f5acd849848f5dbeb1bf:disqus : I appreciate your attempt to blame the victim without examining any of the facts, but when there are no traffic lights the rule is that vehicles have to stop for pedestrians. A power outage is not a license to kill.

  • Andrew

    @ff38ca9b84b9f5acd849848f5dbeb1bf:disqus A few excerpts from http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/trafrule.pdf:

    §4-03(7) Nonfunctioning signals. Vehicular traffic facing a signal that is not working shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall proceed with caution through the intersection.

    §4-04(b)(1) Operators to yield to pedestrians in crosswalk. When traffic control signals or pedestrian control signals are not in place or not in operation, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is in the path of the vehicle or is approaching so closely thereto as to be in danger.

    §4-04(d) Operators to exercise due care. Notwithstanding other provisions of these rules, the operator of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.

    @7c177865bd107a919938355fe93de93a:disqus is correct.

  • Mike

    @saynotocops, you are a fu**king pig

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National Guard Says It Is Not Investigating Fatal Chinatown Crash

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Accounts of last week’s fatal crash in Chinatown do not match that of the National Guard, which insists a convoy was following an NYPD escort when the driver of one of the trucks struck an elderly man on Canal Street after reportedly running a red light. The National Guard is not conducting its own investigation into the crash, […]