A driver who was reportedly listening to loud music when he drove over a 5-year-old and nearly hit her sister in Sunset Park yesterday has yet to be charged or ticketed.
An NYPD spokesperson said Kiko Shao was running northeast on 55th Street when she was struck by the driver of a Cadillac Escalade, who was southbound on Fifth Avenue. The crash occurred sometime around 3:30, as Shao walked with family members home from school, reports said.
NYPD would not tell Streetsblog the name of the driver, a 28-year-old male with a valid license. The spokesperson said the investigation is “ongoing.”
Said a spokesperson for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes: “We’re looking into it.”
Published accounts are somewhat inconsistent, but for the most part don’t match NYPD’s version of events. NY1 and the Post say Shao was walking with her father. The Daily News says she was with her mother. Witnesses told the Post and News 12 that Shao was also with her sister.
“He [the driver] was not speeding,” said a witness, to NY1. “He just crossed the light. Maybe the light had just changed. I don’t know what happened, but he was just coming forward, and the little baby was standing right along nearby the 22 right there, and the front tire knocked her down, and then the rear tire ran over her.”
According to a witness quoted by the Post, there were two children in front of the SUV, they were walking — not running — and the driver was blasting his sound system as he approached:
Witnesses said Shao was walking with her older sister and following their father when a white Cadillac Escalade playing loud music hit the younger girl as her older sister dodged the oncoming car.
The driver of the car got out of the vehicle and stood watch as EMS performed CPR to the kid for about five minutes, said Mohammad Isa, 23, who witnessed the aftermath. “I just saw his face, he looked devastated.”
The Daily News devoted all of 119 words to this story. Reporters Thomas Tracy and Mark Morales seem open to blaming either the victim’s mother or the child herself, but again there is no indication that Shao was running.
The girl was not holding her mother’s hand as they crossed the street near 5th Avenue and 55th St. in Sunset Park around 3:15 p.m., sources said. The little girl drifted into traffic and was crushed by a white Cadillac Escalade, sources said.
Regardless of what Shao or her father or mother or sister did prior to the collision, state law puts the onus on drivers to avoid running people over. Children can not detect the presence of oncoming vehicles or gauge speed as adults do. At least six children age seven and younger have been killed by New York City motorists in 2013, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog.
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death for children in NYC. A recent WNYC study found that an average of five kids between the ages of five and 17 are struck by city motorists every day.
The Daily News has already reported that “No criminality is suspected” in the death of Kiko Shao. If this crash follows the pattern of hundreds if not thousands of others, “investigation ongoing” and “We’re looking into it” are the equivalent of “case closed.”
Bike Snob ran the Escalade’s plate numbers and says the owner was issued three tickets this month for a missing or expired inspection sticker.
This fatal crash occurred in the 72nd Precinct, where traffic enforcement is practically non-existent. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain James Grant, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 72nd Precinct council meetings happen at 7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the precinct, 830 Fourth Avenue. Call 718-965-6326 for information.
The City Council district where Kiko Shao was killed is represented by lame duck Sara Gonzalez, who was defeated by StreetsPAC-endorsed Carlos Menchaca in the Democratic primary.