Maude Savage, the 72-year-old who was hit by a motorist in a Brooklyn crosswalk last November, died from her injuries. Though video showed Savage was crossing with the light, charges were not upgraded against the commercial driver who took a corner at speed, striking her a few feet from a grocery store she had just walked out of. After Savage’s death, the maximum penalty against the driver, who was charged the day of the crash with driving without a license, remains 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The crash occurred in the early afternoon of November 25 at Sutter and Euclid Avenues. In a security video, you could see Savage waiting for the pedestrian signal and looking both ways before stepping into the street. When she was midway across, the driver of a van covered in DirecTV logos entered the crosswalk, barely slowing as he made a left-hand turn. Savage tried to get out of his path, but the driver struck her with the front end of the van.
Robert Brown was charged by then-District Attorney Charles Hynes with third degree aggravated unlicensed operation, a misdemeanor that stipulates that he drove without a license when he knew or should have known he didn’t have one. He was also ticketed for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Reports in the aftermath of the crash said Savage was hospitalized with head injuries. Though several media outlets covered the crash itself — stories were pegged to the DirecTV angle, though Brown was not a DirecTV employee — we found no follow-up coverage. However, the NYPD November crash report recorded one crash at Euclid and Sutter that month, which resulted in one pedestrian fatality.
Several times in recent years, prosecutors have pursued third degree unlicensed operation, a low-level misdemeanor, as the top charge against unlicensed drivers who kill New York City pedestrians. In 2011, Yolanda Casal and Laurence Renard were fatally struck by unlicensed drivers in separate crashes in Manhattan. Casal and her daughter were hit by a recidivist reckless driver as he backed up to get a parking spot; Renard was hit by a dump truck driver on an Upper East Side corner. In each case, Manhattan DA Cy Vance accepted a guilty plea to third degree unlicensed operation, and each motorist was fined $500.
Brown is next scheduled to appear in court on March 5, according to online court records.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Akkas Ali, the florist who was one of several people struck by a curb-jumping driver in the East Village last spring, died in an assisted living facility as a result of his injuries.
Shaun Martin, 32, was racing down Second Avenue in a Nissan sedan around 7 a.m. last June 19 when he drove through a sidewalk stand in front of a bodega at E. Fourth Street, striking three pedestrians and a cyclist, according to published reports. Ali, 62 at the time, was at his flower stand outside the bodega when he was hit, and was left comatose. NYPD and media reports said two other employees of the store were hurt, along with a man who was riding a Citi Bike.
As of last July, Martin was charged with two counts of first degree vehicular assault, two counts of felony assault with serious injury, a felony count of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, felony driving while ability impaired, felony DWAI by drugs and alcohol, and possession of PCP, according to online court records. The Daily News reported Tuesday that Martin was being held on $1 million bail as Vance determines whether to file homicide charges following Ali’s death. Vehicular assault, the current top charge against Martin, is a class C felony for which possible sentences range from probation to 15 years in prison.
We will continue to follow the cases against Shaun Martin and Robert Brown. Maude Savage and Akkas Ali will be added to our 2013 memoriam post.