No Right of Way Charge for Driver Who Killed Toddler in Bronx Crosswalk

The driver who killed 3-year-old Mariam Dansoko narrowly avoided striking her mother and a younger sibling. Will Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark file charges against him?
The driver who killed 3-year-old Mariam Dansoko narrowly avoided striking her mother and a younger sibling. Will Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark (right) file charges against him?

Update: Darcel Clark’s office sent us this statement: “Our office is investigating the incident with the NYPD Accident Investigation Squad, as we do with any fatality or serious injury when a pedestrian is struck.”

NYPD and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark have not charged the driver who struck and killed 3-year-old Mariam Dansoko in a crosswalk near Yankee Stadium Monday.

Mariam, her mother, and a 2-year-old sibling in a stroller were crossing E. 164th Street at Gerard Avenue north to south when a 21-year-old man hit Mariam with a 2014 Nissan while turning left from Gerard, which is northbound, onto E. 164th, according to NYPD and published reports. DNAinfo reported that Mariam was on her way to preschool when the crash occurred, at around 8 a.m.

“There’s no charges at this point,” an NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog. True to NYPD protocol when a motorist kills a pedestrian and is not charged or ticketed, police shielded the driver’s identity.

We have a message in with Clark’s office asking whether the DA is investigating the crash.

E. 164th Street and Gerard Avenue are one-way residential streets that meet at a signalized intersection. There is no dedicated turn phase, meaning motorists and pedestrians are signaled to enter the crossing at the same time. If they entered the crosswalk before the pedestrian signal flashed orange, Mariam’s family would have had the right of way.

E. 164th Street at Gerard Avenue. The white arrow indicates the path of Mariam and her family, and the red arrow indicates the path of the driver, according to NYPD’s account of the collision. Image: Google Maps
E. 164th Street at Gerard Avenue. The white arrow indicates the path of Mariam and her family, and the red arrow indicates the path of the driver, according to NYPD’s account of the collision. Image: Google Maps

Accounts of the crash from Mariam’s family members indicate the driver attempted to turn at an unsafe speed.

“She said, ‘Mommy the car is coming’ before the car came,” Rougui Kebe, Mariam’s mother, told WNBC. “Before I go back, the car hits her right away.”

Mohamed Kebe, Mariam’s uncle, told the Daily News the driver had to swerve to avoid striking his sister. “The driver saw the mother,” Kebe said. “He tried to avoid her, but he didn’t see the little girl behind her.”

Hours after the crash, anonymous NYPD sources told the Daily News the collision was an “accident.” WNBC reported that “criminality was not suspected.” While the media obsessed over the precise distance between Mariam and her mother at the moment of impact, implying the behavior of the victims somehow precipitated the crash, no press coverage we’ve seen addressed the actions of the motorist who ran the child over.

Council Member Vanessa Gibson pledged to approach DOT about improving the intersection where Mariam was struck, according to DNAinfo. As with thousands of crossings in residential neighborhoods, the city allows motorists to park to the edges of crosswalks at E. 164th and Gerard, so drivers and pedestrians can’t see each other as well as they could if DOT used daylighting measures.

  • BBnet3000

    The Daily News wrote in their headline that the child hit was 12 feet behind the others,as if that changes the right of way. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/bronx-3-year-old-fatally-hit-car-12-feet-behind-mom-cops-article-1.2639909

  • Zero Vision

    Maybe the mayor should get involved. Confronting crazy community boards about bike lanes is important, but this family needs him at least as much.

  • Vooch

    short people are fair game for drivers don’t Ya’ know

  • Cristina Carnicelli Furlong

    Close- these family members are crime victims. They need the support and advocacy of the public advocate, Letitia James. Been saying it for years. The crime is a homicide, and they are crime victims. Let’s look at it this way- NYPD and DA’s routinely send criminals back on the streets.

    James could start by demanding safe streets training at NYPD, precinct by precinct. Calling on NYPD to use government and Federal grant money to re-train officers on traffic safety and violence, and do some math on what vehicle crimes cost families, hospitals, business, healthcare…we ( I really mean StreetsPac leaders) actually have the data collected- should we hand it to her?
    Thanks streetsblog for considering news literacy so heavily in this article. This is also an important message to anyone who reads or writes news.

  • com63

    Things like this make me so angry. If the diver is turning, they should immediately be suspected of either violating the pedestrian ROW or running a red light. I don’t understand why the press cannot even state this obvious fact.

    The flashing orange hand loophole is also a BS thing that should be fixed by the DOT right away. It is morally reprehensible that this has not been done yet. If a car has a yellow or green light, the pedestrians crossing parallel to the direction of travel should have the ROW.

  • AnoNYC

    The Daily News is a rag.

  • Jibjab

    I feel terribly for this family, especially for the mom who will always wonder “what if”. But motorists, need to stop trying to beat the light, or the on-coming car as they turn, I’m guilty of it as well. If nothing else this will make me, a more alert and considerate driver. It would kill me to know that I had a hand in the death of someone else’s child.

    Also why aren’t there more school crossing guards?

  • reasonableexplanation

    In this case these were both one way streets, so no excuses.

    However, to your point of “Motorists really need to stop trying to beat the light, or the on-coming car as they turn”; there’s a simple solution for this used basically everywhere else, and that’s the green/red left turn arrow. I have no idea why it’s not implemented at every large two way street in the city, like it is in all of the surrounding areas in the NE.

  • Frank Kotter

    Here you can see not only the right turning minivan violate the ROW but then the Google car just two blocks down from there this kid was killed.
    https://goo.gl/maps/8ArCUwU6v4K2

  • JoshNY

    Meanwhile our police commissioner continues his quest against ATVs because they’re dangerous on city streets.

  • neroden

    Let me correct this for you:

    “True to NYPD protocol when a motorist kills a pedestrian and is not charged or ticketed, police engaged in criminal conspiracy to conceal the killer’s identity.”

    Incidentally, I seem to dimly remember something from my long-ago look at the laws about certain types of after-the-fact coverups converting manslaughters into murders, legally speaking. Is there still a doctrine like this?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Driver Who Killed 3 People on Bronx Sidewalk Charged With Manslaughter

|
District Attorney Darcel Clark filed manslaughter and homicide charges against a motorist who fatally struck three people, including a child, on a Bronx sidewalk last year. Howard Unger was indicted this week on three counts of manslaughter, three counts of assault, three counts of homicide, one count of misdemeanor reckless endangerment, and one misdemeanor count of falsifying records, […]