The cab driver who killed a 5-year-old child in Brooklyn last year is still on the road. Meanwhile, the civil suit filed by the victim’s parents was transferred to NYC this week from Texas, where the family lives.
In April 2012, Timothy Keith and his mother and father were on their first trip to the city when, shortly after they dropped off their bags at a hotel, the child was struck on Hicks Street, in Cobble Hill. Reports published after the crash said Timothy, who was deaf, ran into the street.
“I saw taxi yellow so fast,” Timothy’s mother Eva Keith, who is also deaf, told the Daily News. “Driver hit my son but my son can’t hear.”
“There was no time,” cab driver Usman Gul told the Post at the scene. “He stepped out and I hit the brake.”
Timothy died from his injuries days later. Gul was not charged by NYPD or Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.
The suit, which names Autumn Cab Corporation and NYC Taxi Group as defendants, claims Gul was speeding.
The intersection of Hicks and Amity in Brooklyn, New York is a busy, residential intersection where vehicles are commonly parked on the side of the road. Defendants’ employee and/or agent, Mr. Gul was negligently traveling at high speed under the conditions presented and failed to keep a proper lookout. Mr. Gul’s taxi struck Timothy Keith and caused his body to impact the street pavement with severe force.
The complaint says the defendants were “negligent in failing to properly train and supervise” Gul, and claims the cab companies failed to “have necessary safety policies and procedures in place regarding the operation of Yellow Cabs in residential, high foot-traffic areas.”
According to TLC records, in November Gul’s license to drive a cab was renewed for two years.
The suit was originally filed on January 3 in Texas, and was transferred to federal court in Brooklyn this week. “We will vigorously pursue the case in Brooklyn or anywhere else,“ said Jeff Embry, the Texas-based attorney for Keith’s family.
Civil cases are often settled out of court, but if this suit goes to trial, Keith’s family will have to travel to New York. Traffic injuries and fatalities involving tourists, and residents whose families don’t live in New York, are common. In addition to grief and physical injuries, pursuing justice from long distances is another hardship suffered by victims and their families — particularly in the face of an indifferent, if not hostile, NYPD.
Last summer, British tourist Sian Green lost part of her leg when a cab driver struck her on a Midtown sidewalk. Green filed suit against the city, claiming cabbie Faysal Himon, who reportedly has a history of reckless driving, should not have been behind the wheel. Himon was not charged by NYPD or Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. As of last week, according to a TLC spokesperson, his license remains current.