NYPD: Critically-Injured Cyclist Caused High-Speed Park Slope Collision

NYPD blamed this collision on the cyclist, despite a witness account that the driver was speeding. Photo: Toby Cecchini
NYPD blamed this collision on the cyclist, despite a witness account that the driver was speeding. Photo: Toby Cecchini

A 20-year-old man is in critical condition after he was hit by a driver while riding a bike in Park Slope last night. Though a witness said the driver was speeding, police blamed the victim for the crash.

NYPD said the 25-year-old motorist was traveling southbound on Sixth Avenue near Ninth Street in a Honda sedan when the northbound cyclist “suddenly reared into the southbound lane, causing a collision.”

Police accounts cited by Gothamist said the cyclist was riding against traffic in the southbound lane. NYPD told Gothamist the motorist had been waiting at the red light at Sixth and Ninth just before the collision occurred.

The victim went head-first through the windshield into the vehicle’s passenger compartment, according to NYPD. Photos of the scene show the windshield was destroyed, a sign of high-speed collision.

Toby Cecchini, who witnessed the crash and tended to the victim before police arrived, told Gothamist the driver came “flying past” before he heard what sounded like an “explosion.”

Cecchini said the victim “was canted into the front passenger seat, his legs sticking out through the windshield.” According to Cecchini, the driver was “shouting loudly that the cyclist swerved into him from nowhere and repeating it loudly over and over to different group[s] of people.”

After Cecchini told a detective what he saw, he said the detective “didn’t tell me anything that I recall about them needing me as a witness or any such, or how I might reach them.”

“As of noon today, I haven’t been contacted by anyone connected to the police,” Cecchini said.

The victim, whose name was not made public, was transported to nearby New York Methodist Hospital after police arrived at 9:20 p.m. The NYPD Collision Investigation Squad is working the crash and no charges have been filed, police said.

One cyclist and seven motor vehicle occupants were injured at Sixth Avenue and Ninth Street in 2015, according to city crash data. Earlier this year, 33-year-old cyclist James Gregg was killed by the driver of an off-route eighteen-wheel truck at Sixth Avenue and Sterling Place.

Last night’s crash occurred in the 78th Precinct and in the City Council district represented by Brad Lander. To share your concerns about reckless driving with CO Captain Frank DiGiacomo, go to the next the 78th Precinct community council meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, September 27, at the precinct house, located at 65 Sixth Avenue.

  • No criminality

    Most drivers know: if you hit a cyclist in NYC, start with the excuses IMMEDIATELY. You own the narrative and the cops won’t question it. They’ll even back you up.

  • JudenChino

    The notion that this guy was just sitting at a light and to have that degree of wreckage is just bunk. And based on Toby’s eye-witness account, it wouldn’t surprise me if the driver was like this car I encountered last night (3rd ave/9th street): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzfhxKx_2MA

  • Eric McClure

    Glad you saw him coming.

  • jeremy

    Dear Streetsblog, stop supporting unproven facts that the cyclist was going in the wrong way.

    Most likely incorrect

  • jeremy

    Doesn’t look like the same car, but wtf is wrong with these people???

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, the motor vehicle is in the correct lane.

    Having been down that narrow, two-way street in a motor vehicle and on a bike, the scenario I imagine is this one.

    There was a vehicle double parked in the cyclist’s lane.

    With no oncoming traffic coming, the cyclist went around the vehicle in the oncoming lane. I’ve done this, and observed others doing this, in a car and on a bike.

    The driver gunned it from the light, and hit the cyclists before he expected an oncoming vehicle to arrive.

    The only other explanation is the bicyclist wanted this to happen.

  • ahwr

    The only other explanation is the bicyclist wanted this to happen.

    Or the cyclist was rear ended, not in a head on collision. Maybe he didn’t have a light or reflector on his bike and was hard for the driver to see while he was checking his phone.

  • jeremy

    How do you know that’s a fact? Because the NYPD said so? Seriously?

  • JudenChino

    Yah it’s obviously a different car but just pointing out something that happens all the time without accountability. The driver in this case, tried gunning it at the light by going straight in a left turn lane. And the thing is, you see this all the time there.

    So my point is, perhaps the bicyclist did go over the line. That shit happens all day. I have to go over the line a lot too for double-parked cars. In fact, on 5th ave, the double parked cars in the bike lanes regularly cause cars to go over the yellow line and they don’t slow down. we need traffic calming measures all over Brooklyn as of yesterday. This is the 3rd serious injury or fatality on 6th ave in the past 4 months I believe.

  • tbatts666

    Left turn? I take left turns sometimes.

    Yeah that wind shield is fucking nuts. No way he was going under 30

  • ADN

    How did the NYPD acquire these facts?
    Video? Witnesses?
    Or just asking the driver what happened and not bothering to listen to anyone else? That’s how they usually do it.

  • datbeezy

    Another possibility – this was a delivery rider, who are way more likely than other cyclists to ride salmon-style

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    I pretty much stopped making this left unless there’s a huge gap in traffic because this happens at this corner all the time, though usually not that close or that far back from the intersection. IIRC I added this as a complaint on the Vision Zero map back in those heady days when we thought it would make any difference.

    Is there a clear license plate anywhere in the source footage? Unfortunately I’ve had a tough time with this at night.

  • Joe R.

    We need to have a collection of videos like this ready for when the day comes that someone proposes banning human-driven vehicles. Whenever drivers object and complain about their “right” to drive being taken away, just show these videos over and over again.

  • Elias Friedman

    From the way the windshield is folded, it looks like it was struck from the driver’s side, unfortunately that side of the car’s bumper is out of frame. I don’t think the cyclist was salmoning, at most he may have been near the center line (to turn, to pass double parked cars). Even with opposite directions making the collision speed additive, the degree of damage says to me that the motorist was going faster than 25mph.

  • Bernard Finucane

    This is why you need pedestrian refuges at intersections. As long as there are wide intersections with cars moving around in random directions, the city will not be safe.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It was a two-way street.

    No one has said whether or not there was a double-parked vehicle. But based on my experience, that’s what I would expect.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Basically, Brooklyn wasn’t built for motor vehicles, and motor vehicles have to make adjustments. And that leads to lots of stuff.

    Take a ride on the B35 bus, one of the heaviest bus routes in the city, from Costco on the waterfront some late PM rush. Preferably winter, in the dark and snow.

    You’ll see buses having to ride over the centerline to pass double parked cars multiple times on 39th Street, timing it so as not to run into oncoming buses and trucks. How those drivers do it without having a heart attack I don’t know.

    The issue comes back to speed. If you are going slow enough, if there is a mistake by someone, anyone, you just stop.

  • Elias Friedman

    My guess is that they were BOTH passing double parked cars. Cyclist probably didn’t expect motorist to cross the double yellow line.

  • jeremy

    Or speeding car vs. cyclist trying to turn left to the opposite sidewalk. But definitely speeding and/or distracted driver

  • Aaron

    Hey, Folks: Toby Cecchini was walking right past this scene at the moment that it happened. Based on the highly detailed and lucid account of what he saw and heard, he believes the cyclist was t-boned while biking legally in the bike lane along 9th Street and as the driver sped illegally through a red light along Sixth Avenue. Toby believes the driver was 100% at fault here but that the officers who showed up from the 78th Precinct simply accepted the driver’s story and that was that.

    What I would like to know is: How in the world did the 78th Precinct determine fault and announce the results of their determination to the media when the investigation of this crash is supposedly ongoing and has not been concluded. This is exactly what the 78th Precinct did in the death of James Gregg, also on 6th Avenue, a few months back: Blamed the victim before the CIS investigation had even begun. Community members raised this issue with the precinct at their community council meeting in May. Apparently, that didn’t have any impact on the precinct. They just did the same thing again.

    Moreover: Why would the 78th Precinct allow this driver to leave the scene with his car and continue to allow him to drive on our streets when it’s entirely possible that he had just committed vehicular manslaughter? Why not, at minimum, bring this driver into the precinct, document the hell out of him and tow his car to make sure that he can’t use it again as a weapon on our neighborhood streets?

    Something is deeply broken at the 78th Precinct and at NYPD, in general.

  • com63

    Did they allow the driver to leave the scene with his car. The story says CIS was involved and they usually spend a good deal of time documenting the scene and collecting evidence.

  • I bet that, if Michael Ameri were still around, they would have handled this very differently.

  • fdtutf

    Fortunately, the city realizes this, and has been putting in pedestrian refuges at dangerous intersections, and would never, ever, ever remove them except for a very good reason, like a parade that happens once a year and handles similar refuges just fine in nearby locations.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Picture. The car was in the right lane, not the left lane.

    Unless they moved it.

  • Aaron

    As Toby described it, CIS was never called to the scene and the driver was left standing there by himself with his car and its caved in windshield and the sheered off scalp of this poor cyclist still embedded in the glass like “a toupee.” The driver appeared to be free to go and free to do this again once he gets his windshield fixed up. It just continues to be mind-boggling to me that this is how NYPD handles these incidents.

  • jeremy

    So? The cyclist could have been travelling in the same direction on the same lane.

  • JudenChino

    Wow, CIS is supposed to investigate collisions like that. Straight up.

  • Aaron

    CIS is supposed to come when the victim is “dead or likely to die,” right? Maybe the precinct decided the guy was not “likely to die” and so CIS wasn’t called. Or, perhaps, CIS was there and Toby didn’t recognize them. But it really sounds like CIS was not there, based on his description.

  • Vooch

    thanks for the eyewitness Report – victim was Tee-boned while in unprotected Bike Lane appears true

  • JudenChino

    So the car was trying to beat the light while heading south on 6th ave and the victim was heading east on 9th street and left right as the light changed? def a possibility. Too bad the NYPD doesn’t give a fuck. For the love of god I wish Toby had told the cops “I thought I heard Alluh Akbar” right before the collision because then maybe the NYPD would give a fuck about someone possibly losing their life.

  • datbeezy

    people salmon on two streets all the time – they mostly believe it’s safer than riding with traffic.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Whatever happened, it doesn’t make sense that the cyclist was riding the wrong way on a two-way street just for the heck of it.

  • JudenChino

    The dude’s scalp was separated from his head! We’re not just talking a broken leg here. Also, if rumors are true that the driver was a police officer . . . . . we know how that goes.

  • Bernard Finucane

    I recommend blocking the parade.

    Or maybe just complain about it on line.

  • Eric McClure

    Aaron, I don’t think that your post is completely accurate. The car was impounded; the photo in the DNAinfo article shows it parked at the 78th Precinct. And the article indicates that the 78th declined to comment pending the CIS investigation; I believe the police comments in the article are attributable to DCPI. CIS is investigating.

    Clearly, crash investigations need to be better, and the protocol, department-wide and at individual precincts, needs a lot of work. The scene needs to be treated as if the victim was shot; cordoned off and thoroughly examined, etc.

    There’s at least one camera near that intersection; no telling if it was operable, and it may not have caught the collision directly, but it would have caught the car prior to the crash if it was recording. I would hope the cops have looked into that, and that they’re examining the black box, which would have recorded driver inputs just prior to the crash.

  • I saw a picture of the bike, there’s no way the cyclist was hit from the front. The front wheel was pringled not smashed. There were dents in the downtube and seat tube that could only have gotten there in a T-bone impact. And most telling of all, the rear wheel had been removed.

  • Andrew

    So stop suggesting that he was.

  • Andrew

    Wait, they left a critical piece of evidence at the curbside, for anybody to tamper with?

  • Frank Kotter

    just imagine if that driver would have hit the gas while checking his mirrors to get in front of the following car. Could have been your number. And others wonder why ‘we’ have a chip on our shoulder?

  • Vooch

    killer driver was a cop ?

  • jeremy

    Exactly what I think happened.

    Too bad the NYPD doesn’t care about cyclists. I’m sure if it was a cop on the bike they would care a little more

  • getthehelloutoftheroad

    These idiot bikers always converge on these stories to say SEE EVERYONE ELSE IS TO BLAME WHEN WE RIDE OUR BIKES RECKLESSLY THE WRONG WAY INTO TRAFFIC. its amazing how all these commenters “know” the cyclist couldn’t possibly have been to blame.
    I wasn’t there–unlike the other 42 people commenting, APPARENTLY, but every f**ing day I see bikers riding the wrong way, not in a bike lane, along busy streets, totally oblivious to pedestrians and cars.
    Good for the driver–let’s pick them off one by one.

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