Witness Account of Park Slope Collision Contradicts NYPD Victim-Blaming

If, as NYPD says, the cyclist collided with vehicle head-on, why is the rear tired destroyed? Photo: Toby Cecchini
A witness believes the cyclist who was severely injured in Park Slope Wednesday night was struck from the side, not head-on, as NYPD claims. Photo: Toby Cecchini

A witness believes the driver who severely injured a 20-year-old cyclist Wednesday night in Park Slope T-boned the victim as he rode across Sixth Avenue in the Ninth Street bike lane with the right of way — contrary to NYPD’s claim that the victim was hit head-on while biking against traffic on Sixth Avenue.

The crash happened at around 9 p.m. NYPD said the 25-year-old motorist was southbound on Sixth Avenue between Ninth and 10th streets when the cyclist, traveling northbound on Sixth, “suddenly reared into the southbound lane, causing a collision.”

But Toby Cecchini, who had just crossed Sixth Avenue on the north side of Ninth Street when he heard the crash behind him, thinks this account is inaccurate.

I did not see the cyclist, but my impression was that the driver’s version is incorrect. From the sound behind and to my left, and the debris field, I believe the cyclist was crossing Sixth in the same direction I was, heading [westbound] in the bike lane just to my left. His bike was struck directly from the side, very obviously from my photos, and so this corroborates that. Had the cyclist been riding as the driver maintains, his bike would have been crushed head-on, in a completely different manner. Also, the cyclist would have gone face-first into the windshield and had his face mutilated. Clearly, he went sideways or even backwards into the windshield, from the way his scalp had been taken off from the rear, and from how he ended up with his feet pointing upwards initially, sticking out through the windshield. Also his face was intact, which makes the driver’s assertion impossible.

At the time of the collision, Cecchini had just reached the curb and was walking with the signal, meaning the cyclist would have had the green light as well. After the crash, Cecchini said, the driver was “shouting loudly that the cyclist swerved into him from nowhere and repeating it loudly over and over.”

The preliminary report from the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad reflected the driver’s version of the story, which Cecchini said he overheard at the scene, and was disseminated by the department’s public information office. NYPD told Gothamist the motorist was waiting at a red light on Sixth at Ninth just before the collision.

The white arrow indicates the direction of the witness to Wednesday’s crash. The red arrow indicates the path of the driver. The red “X” is the approximate location where the driver stopped, based on photos of the scene. Image: Google Maps
The white arrow indicates the path of a witness to the crash, who believes the cyclist was traveling in the same direction. The red arrow indicates the path of the driver. The red “X” is the approximate location where the driver stopped after the collision, based on photos of the scene. Image: Google Maps

NYPD routinely blames traffic crash victims who can’t speak for themselves. This year alone, police wrongly accused Brooklyn cyclists James Gregg and Lauren Davis of causing their own deaths at the hands of drivers, correcting themselves after the media moved on.

Cecchini said police left the scene “within very few minutes,” leaving the driver, the damaged car, and the mangled bicycle behind.

Sixth Avenue and Ninth Street is a busy commercial intersection, so it’s possible the crash was caught on video. The NYPD public information office did not know if crash investigators were checking for surveillance footage. The victim was in stable condition as of this morning, according to NYPD.

Update: We got word that NYPD is asking around for crash video.

  • Andrew

    Learned today that the cyclist is still alive…

    Great news. Thanks!

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