No Homicide Charge for Unlicensed Curb-Jumping Driver Who Killed SI Woman

A motorist who crashed on a Staten Island sidewalk was charged by District Attorney Dan Donovan with driving without a license and drug possession, but not for killing one pedestrian and hospitalizing another.

Christal Aliotta. Photo via Staten Island Advance
Christal Aliotta. Photo via SI Advance

On the afternoon of June 9, a motorist jumped the curb and hit 31-year-old Christal Aliotta and her 20-year-old cousin Stephanie Canecchio as they walked along Hylan Boulevard at Cleveland Avenue in Great Kills. Aliotta, the mother of two young daughters, died at the scene. She was struck after reportedly pushing her cousin out of the driver’s path.

Police arrested Michael Fox, 23, who according to a criminal court complaint was found at the scene inside a 2005 Honda Accord with the engine running. The complaint says officers discovered a “hypodermic syringe, spoon with residue and tourniquet band” in the car, and found “two glassines containing heroin residue” in Fox’s pockets. Fox’s license had been suspended on May 23 for failure to answer a traffic summons, according to the complaint and the Staten Island Advance.

Fox was charged with possession of a controlled substance and third degree aggravated unlicensed operation, both misdemeanors. He was not charged with homicide or assault for killing Aliotta and injuring Canecchio. The criminal court complaint and arrest report only mention the victims in passing.

A spokesperson for Donovan’s office told Streetsblog prosecutors have Fox’s toxicology report, but declined to say what the results were. “[W]e are still reviewing them as the case is ongoing,” the spokesperson said via email.

On the day of her daughter’s wake, Lisa Canecchio said she wants Donovan to upgrade charges against Fox. From the Advance:

“He took somebody’s life,” Ms. Canecchio said of suspect Michael Fox, 23, stressing that she wants the charge to be vehicular homicide or another felony.

“I don’t care if he spends 50 years in prison,” she said. “All I know is he’s alive. He gets to go home. I’ll never get to see my daughter again. Her kids are never going to get to see her.”

Lisa Canecchio said NYPD crash investigators did not contact her or return her calls. She told the Advance she went to the 122nd Precinct, but detectives would not meet with her. Poor treatment of crash victims’ loved ones is standard operating procedure for NYPD.

Fox posted $10,000 bail on July 10, court records say, and is due back in court on July 31.

  • carma

    i can perhaps tolerate lesser charges on a true accident in which a person was killed truly because of an accident, but this is a clear cut case of vehicular manslaughter.

    the writing is all over the wall. why arent there more serious charges.

  • Jonathan R

    My condolences to Ms. Canecchio and her family. The behavior of the police department is shameful. I hope our elected officials read this story and pressure their local precincts to take this part of their job seriously.

  • Komanoff

    Is 122 the Eric Garner precinct, or a different one?

  • lop
  • BBnet3000

    Clearly PD treated this woman’s family like shit, but are they or the DA to blame for the lack of an appropriate charge on this?

  • Albert

    From the article: “The complaint says officers discovered a ‘hypodermic syringe, spoon with residue and tourniquet band’ in the car, and found ‘two glassines containing heroin residue’ in Fox’s pockets.”

    If it can be shown that the driver *was* under the influence of these drugs at the time (and apparently that hasn’t been shown yet), wouldn’t this clearly qualify as “depraved indifference to human life”? Wouldn’t a drunk who kills a person with a car similarly be charged with vehicular homicide?

  • armyvet05

    Start calling and writing your elected officials until they change the laws so that by the letter of the law the people can prosecute these crimes.

  • I find it interesting that as of today, the DA Donovan supporting Staten Island Advance has not mentioned this latest development.

  • dporpentine

    I can’t imagine how full of grief and rage the Canecchio family must be.

    If this guy had killed a mother of two young children with literally any other object in existence–and done so with heroin paraphernalia all around him–he would be public enemy number one. But because he used a Golden Calf–sorry, because he used a car, it’s a local story followed only by a grieving family and some Streetsblog readers.

    The contempt the police demonstrate for victims of traffic violence is amazingly consistent across the boroughs and, apparently, across administrations as well.

  • SteveVaccaro

    Shocking. Thanks for covering, Brad.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    The police and DA care more about drugs then murder. They live in a different world then the rest of us, a bizarre place we allow to exist because we don’t demand more oversight.

  • MattyCiii

    Whatever happened to Felony-Murder laws?

  • Tyson White

    All charges that would apply had he not killed anyone in the process. This is like charging a murderer with possession of a weapon, but not for the murder itself. Incredulous!

  • anonymous

    want to know a secret. his dad is a somebody at abc news on 55th st and 11th Ave. he’s pulled strings for him before, this is an atrocity and someone should look into it

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