Felony Hit-and-Run Charge for Driver Who Allegedly Killed Can Reng Ma

A suspect was arrested and charged in the hit-and-run killing of cyclist Can Reng Ma in Sheepshead Bay, and NYPD is making exculpatory statements on the alleged driver’s behalf.

Can Reng Ma
Can Reng Ma

Junior Hicks was charged with one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury, a class D felony, according to court records. WABC reported that Hicks, 31, is from Queens.

On Tuesday Ma, 54, was riding his bike on Avenue U, on the way home from his job at a nearby lumber supply company, when he was fatally struck by the driver of a rented box truck. Police arrested Hicks yesterday afternoon.

No charges were filed for the act of taking Can Reng Ma’s life.

WABC spoke with relatives and friends of the victim, who reportedly came to the U.S. from China seven years ago:

Around the warehouse, Can Reng was known for his work ethic, generosity, a humble soul who adored his wife, daughter, and teenage son.

“We do love him, we feel so sorry about him,” [co-worker Kimmie] Kwok said.

Police told the press the person who killed Ma may not have seen him — a ready-made defense, since under state law prosecutions for hit-and-run crashes hinge on whether it can be proven that the driver knew or had reason to know a collision occurred. The vast majority of New York City motorists involved in hit-and-run crashes resulting in injury and death are never charged with a crime.

After Hicks was taken into custody, an NYPD spokesperson told Gothamist a “preliminary investigation indicates that Hicks did not know he had struck someone.”

Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, issued a statement today praising police for making an arrest, and called on NYPD to stop “making unauthorized statements to news outlets even though evidence [is] still being collected.”

This reflexive victim-blaming is not an isolated incident, but only the latest example of a longstanding pattern that prejudices the outcome of collision investigations and hardens the public perception that drivers should not be held accountable for dangerous choices, and crash victims should not be given the benefit of the doubt. If the City is going to get to Vision Zero, the NYPD has an essential role to play in changing the culture, so that New Yorkers understand that collisions like the one that has devastated the family of Can Reng Ma are preventable.

Hicks is free on bond, according to court records, and his next court appearance is scheduled for March.

  • Eric McClure

    “A preliminary investigation indicates that the cops leaking their ‘preliminary investigation’ don’t know what they’re talking about.”

    I’ll wager that if video surfaces, it contradicts the “preliminary investigation.”

  • dave “paco” abraham

    Why don’t commanding officers at every precinct remind their officers to keep lips sealed until there is actual information to share. Let the CIS squad do their investigation first, no?

  • petercow

    Oh Paco, you so cray-zee!

  • stairbob

    I wonder if there are other types of crimes where the police identify more strongly with the perpetrator than the victim.

  • With all due respect to law enforcement, police officers are like everybody else….so it’s likely a media person could find one with loose lips. It’s probable that a media person would actively cultivate a relationship with such a cop so as to have someone to call for a quote when needed. It doesn’t have to be a cop on the scene, it could be any cop in the precinct with a big set of ears and mouth to match. Plenty of people like that. They feel important and knowing when someone asks them things.

    The rank and file barely acknowledged the letter Ray Kelly put out telling them to cut out tricking people into pulling pot out of their pockets so they could make an arrest for public possession. Think a cop with a big mouth is going to stop doing something he thinks isn’t wrong, strokes his ego, and has no real chance of getting caught doing? I don’t.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    when a NYPD standing in Middle Of street on dark night gets killed by a driver, charge is instantly homicide. When a New Yorker gets killed in broad daylight by a deck less driver , NYPD makes defends the killer driver. tragic corruption

  • For a long time domestic violence was such a crime. In response to this abuse of discretion, the cops’ discretion was removed; and they are now required to make an arrest in domestic violence calls.

  • My longstanding assumption has been that this is the work of the NYPD press office. I’m sure that very few reporters have the contacts in the precincts to find officers to give them this stuff and most I imagine would take some persuading to talk. The good news is that this is the work of a single office and it could be easily stopped if there were determination. The bad news is there’s no such determination.

  • dave “paco” abraham

    If it was all out of the NYPD press office, wouldn’t Streetsblog, DNAinfo, Daily News etc all always cite it as such? In general, its usually just called a police source, which makes me assume it’s whatever cop is picking up the phone or on scene when a reporter inquires. At least that’s my guess.


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