Bypassing the Courts, NYPD Clears Hit-and-Run Trash Hauler Who Killed Neftaly Ramirez

NYPD said the Action Carting driver "didn't realize" he ran over a man on a bicycle -- the same excuse police gave the media hours after the crash.

Franklin Street at Noble Street in Brooklyn, where an Action Carting driver killed cyclist Neftaly Ramirez and left the scene. Photo: Google Maps
Franklin Street at Noble Street in Brooklyn, where an Action Carting driver killed cyclist Neftaly Ramirez and left the scene. Photo: Google Maps

After defending him in the press, NYPD filed no charges against the Action Carting trash truck driver who fatally struck cyclist Neftaly Ramirez and left the scene.

Neftaly Ramirez
Neftaly Ramirez

Ramirez was riding on Franklin Street in Greenpoint at around 12:30 a.m. on July 22 when the driver, southbound on Franklin, hit him while turning right onto Noble Street.

Ramirez, who was on his way home to Manhattan after work, died at the scene. He was 27.

To win a hit-and-run conviction in New York, prosecutors must prove a motorist knew or had reason to know a collision occurred — which can be a surprisingly high burden of proof. Due in part to state laws that Albany legislators have failed to reform, drivers who flee the scene of a crash often avoid charges by claiming they were unaware they hit someone.

It is not unusual for NYPD to give hit-and-run drivers who kill people a preemptive defense in the press, and the department continued the practice in this case. While the driver was still at large, NYPD excused his actions, telling the media it was possible he “didn’t realize” he struck Ramirez.

Last week NYPD announced that no charges had been filed, based on investigators’ belief that the driver, whose identity was shielded by police, didn’t know he ran over a man on a bicycle.

NYPD told Gothamist there was “no indication of criminality.” Since the driver continued along his route after the crash, police said, he “probably didn’t realize he had hit the victim.”

So rather than filing charges for leaving the scene and letting the justice system determine innocence or guilt, NYPD decided on its own that the driver who killed Ramirez was not culpable.

“In cases involving large trucks, the police will sometimes bend over backwards to excuse a driver who claimed ignorance of the collision by emphasizing how heavy the truck is, how rough the road was, and all of the vibrations that they believe led the driver to be reasonable in failing to notice that they ran over a person,” attorney Steve Vaccaro, who represents crash victims and their families, told Gothamist.

Vaccaro said the Ramirez case is reminiscent of the hit-and-run crash that killed Mathieu Lefevre, another Brooklyn cyclist struck by a truck driver and wrongly blamed for his own death.

The vast majority of hit-and-run drivers who hit people in NYC are never prosecuted.

Private trash haulers in NYC have a high rate of fatal collisions per mile driven. Drivers who work for Action Carting have killed three pedestrians and two cyclists, including Ramirez, since 2008, according to DNAinfo. Even so, Action has tens of millions of dollars in city contracts. The city’s Business Integrity Commission, which regulates the trash hauling industry, does not penalize companies for poor traffic safety records.

  • Reader

    Basically, the NYPD made an argument for banning these vehicles from the city. If their operators can kill people without even knowing it, these machines have no place here.

  • jeremy

    If this is not an encouragement for hit-and-runs I don’t know what it is

  • jeremy

    If this is not an encouragement for hit-and-runs I don’t know what it is

  • MasonEagle

    I suggest that everyone should express their distaste for Action Carting and its failure to address its criminally reckless killer drivers by leaving them a review either on Google or Yelp.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=action%20carting&oq=action+carting&aqs=chrome.0.69i59l2j0l4.4205j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&npsic=0&rflfq=1&rlha=0&rllag=40768247,-73939890,12874&tbm=lcl&rldimm=9146900855634523162&ved=0ahUKEwjQzdORvNfVAhXmxYMKHVhEBOwQvS4IRjAC&rldoc=1&tbs=lrf:!2m1!1e2!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:2#lrd=0x89c2f735ea5eea09:0x7ef051dda7cff41a,1,

    https://www.yelp.com/biz/action-carting-bronx

  • Eric McClure

    If the driver of this garbage truck wasn’t breaking any laws when he ran over Neftaly Ramirez, he was surely the only garbage-truck driver not breaking any laws that night.

  • Boeings+Bikes

    Why bother investigating when the NYPD “knows” the outcome while the victim is still bleeding out? Maybe we should just acknowledge the Crash Investigation Unit is really intended to be the Driver Exoneration Unit? Also, since anyone walking in any New York neighborhood late at night knows that private carting trucks pay very little regard to traffic laws, maybe the NYPD should start ticketing late-night pedestrians “for their safety”.

  • AMH

    Especially since NYPD have established that there is no responsibility to pay attention to who or what you are driving over with heavy machinery. If anything, you should drive with your eyes shut to avoid incriminating yourself.

  • AMH

    Be sure to leave a review for your neighborhood location (Bronx, Bklyn, whatever’s closest) not just the Teaneck location.

  • Tyson White

    In traffic deaths, the police act as the defense! Imagine how people would react if that was done for other crimes…

  • Tyson White

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

NYPD has a get-out-of-jail-free card for drivers of large trucks who strike and kill people. Image: News 12

NYPD Gives Trash Truck Drivers Carte Blanche to Run People Over and Leave the Scene

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The Brooklyn Paper published a damning story Tuesday on the NYPD practice of withholding information on fatal traffic crashes from victims' families and the public. An NYPD spokesperson told the paper that police just didn't have sufficient grounds to charge the Action Carting driver who killed cyclist Neftaly Ramirez and left the scene -- echoing statements police made before they even located the driver.