Maude Savage and Akkas Ali, Struck by Motorists in 2013, Die From Injuries

The driver of this van barely slowed down as he turned into an occupied crosswalk, striking a senior. Image via Daily News. Video after the jump.
Charged for driving without a license, the maximum penalty against the motorist who fatally struck senior Maude Savage remains 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Image via Daily News

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.

Akkas Ali. Photo via Daily News
Akkas Ali. Photo via Daily News

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.

  • KillMoto

    People caught driving without a license should have the vehicle forfeit.

    If it’s not their car, they should be charged with felony auto theft (if they took the car without permission), or the person giving the car should be charged with facilitation if it was loaned.

    For the dump truck driver: the law should make it easy for the family of the victim to sue the company that hired the unlicensed driver. And the attorney general should find a way to have the whole company audited… if they hired ONE unlicensed driver, how many more do they employ?

  • Mat50

    is there such a thing as a class action suit against the city/state/legal system?

  • Guest

    Has the DA really not upgraded charges on Maude Savage’s killer? Were they not aware she had died? It took me all of 5 minutes of armchair googling last night to read comments from her friends in early December that she had passed away. The taxpayer-funded NYPD and prosecutors who are paid to be investigating and keeping the streets safe, had they followed up at all? This is sick. Would like more answers. Thank you streetsblog for your careful investigative journalism and advocacy.

  • I don’t understand how if someone kills someone with a hammer, how this is any different than plain murder, because the driver didn’t have a license and therefore didn’t have the authority to drive. 30 days for a life is a joke and insult to Maude Savage’s life, especially considering she was not acting in a reckless manner. Anyone caught driving w/o a license should get 30 days in order to prevent a tragedy such as this.

  • Joe R.

    Anyone caught driving without a license should have their vehicle confiscated/auctioned off as a minimum punishment. Jail might be good also, but I’ll settle for vehicle confiscation plus a lifetime ban on driving. Same thing for anyone driving drunk. As you said, Maude Savage did absolutely nothing wrong here. The current penalties are indeed a joke.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    I wonder how the car lobby will try to blame the victim here, since she waited to cross with the light in the intersection. Maybe they’ll say her cloths weren’t bright enough or that she should be carrying a flashlight at all times to flag down inattentive motorists, like the NYPD claims. In the end the message from motorheads to our politicians is clear, “we should be able to kill without consequences because we are wealthy enough to have (or work for companies who have) personal chunks of status symbol around us at all times.” And by ticketing pedestrians it shows that the new commissioner just doesn’t understand who is the problem or is too scared to stand up to it. I don’t understand how anyone who supports this system of guilt free murder can live with themselves.

  • They may not own a vehicle, so agree with @KillMoto that anyone knowingly allowing a non-licensed driver to use their vehicle should also face consequences. Street racers in some parts of the country get their vehicle crushed. This should be applied in cases like this, drunk drivers and other extremely dangerous drivers without question. They should also be forced to use public transportation to get them used to it, as I’m sure they wouldn’t even consider using a bus to get somewhere.

  • Brad Aaron

    Since her death was recorded by NYPD, my guess is Ms. Savage died not long after the crash. But as it says in the post, AUO3 is sort of the default charge for killing while driving without a license. The current charges against Brown are consistent with other fatality cases.

    I called the Brooklyn DA’s office a few times about this crash. They offered no further information.

  • Kevin Love

    Yes there is. They are called “elections.”

  • Truenyc

    Is not murder because the driver did not have intent to kill the person. You hit another person with a hammer that’s intent to kill.

  • Truenyc

    Is not murder. Please inform your self before you say this stupid things.

    mur·der
    ?m?rd?r/
    noun
    1.
    the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
    “the stabbing murder of an off-Broadway producer”

  • True tv

    mur·der
    ?m?rd?r/
    noun
    1.
    the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
    “the stabbing murder of an off-Broadway producer”

  • afk

    If a person kills someone, intent to kill is not required for it to be murder. Intent to inflict harm, leaving them just short of death is enough for the person to have committed murder. Intent to commit a dangerous felony, the act of which leads to someone’s death is enough for it to be murder. Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life that leads to death is enough for it to be murder as well. Many jurisdictions consider driving while intoxicated to be an example of such reckless indifference, and can lead to a murder charge for example.

  • Kevin Love

    And you are a mind reader? How can you possibly know someone’s intent without mental telepathy?

    I really could not care less about what someone “intends.” Punishing the criminal BEHAVIOR is good enough for me.

  • you’re absolutely right about that. Perhaps it’s negligence. Still under the circumstances of the above article there needs to be real consequences especially when it comes to operating a motor vehicle. 30 days hardly seems like justice.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    You drive a huge truck and don’t bother to look or put on the brakes as you make a turn, hitting and killing a pedestrian (who happens ot have the right of way)? It’s a killing. The driver is a killer. And behaved criminally (whatever the law may say.)Maude Savage was killed, brutally, by someone who should have known that operating a vehicle in that manner was likely to lead to heinous physical carnage and/ or death. So, yeah, premeditation, whatever. This woman was killed by someone just as callously as if the driver had intentionally walked up to her and stabbed her.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    Hey Ben et al, isn’t this abuse/trolling worthy of banning — the same comment three times on the same thread?

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