A hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a woman in Jamaica last night will not be charged with a crime, according to NYPD.
Mosa Khatun, 38, was struck by the driver of a Nissan SUV at the corner of Highland Avenue and 169th Street at around 10:20 p.m., according to NYPD and the Daily News:
Emergency responders rushed to the scene and found the woman on the pavement with traumatic injuries to her body, officials said.
She was taken to Queens General Hospital in critical condition, but died there a short time later, officials said.
The News reported that the driver left the scene and “returned about an hour later to talk with police.” An NYPD spokesperson confirmed this account, and said the motorist, whose name is being withheld by the department, “Wasn’t aware she’d hit someone.”
It is not clear why the driver returned to the crash site if she did not know a crash occurred. Nevertheless, while NYPD issued summonses for careless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian, police filed no charges for leaving the scene. As of this morning, approximately 12 hours after Mosa Khatun was killed, NYPD had concluded its investigation.
Leaving the scene of an injury crash is a class D felony in New York State, punishable by up to seven years in jail. Yet drivers in New York City routinely escape penalty simply by claiming they “didn’t see” their deceased victims. As in this case, rather than allowing the justice system to determine innocence or guilt, police and prosecutors often decline to pursue charges.
According to Transportation Alternatives, of some 300 investigations conducted by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad in 2012, around 60 involved hit-and-run drivers, and just 15 of those investigations resulted in arrest. In December the City Council passed legislation requiring NYPD to post quarterly reports on hit-and-run crashes that result in “critical” injury.
Khatun was at least the third pedestrian killed in New York City traffic since Bill Bratton succeeded Ray Kelly as NYPD commissioner. No drivers are known to have been charged for those deaths.
This fatal crash occurred in the 107th Precinct, which does not have much interest in enforcing laws that make it safer to walk and bike. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain Frederick Grover, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 107th Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the precinct, 71-01 Parsons Boulevard. Call 718-969-5973 for information.
The City Council district where Mosa Khatun was killed is represented by Rory Lancman. To encourage Lancman to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-6956 or on Twitter.