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Truck Driver Charged for Killing Two Pedestrians

10:20 AM EST on February 14, 2008

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The driver of a private garbage truck has been charged with two counts of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide after striking and killing two British tourists Tuesday night, according to media reports.

Jacqueline Timmins and Andrew Hardie, of Yeovil in southern England, were hit at 10:28 p.m. as they walked on the sidewalk near the entrance to their hotel, a Comfort Inn on W. 35th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Police say the driver of the truck, Auvryn Scarlett, 52, of Irvington, N.J., had a seizure before jumping the curb, barreling down the sidewalk and hitting three people. The truck stopped after slamming into a closed restaurant.

The third pedestrian, Abayomi Henderson, 23, of Queens, is at Bellevue Hospital, where he was in serious but stable condition Wednesday.

Police and the Manhattan DA's office say Scarlett told investigators that he has a prescription for an anti-seizure drug, which he chose not to take.

"Apparently, he stopped taking his medication," an NYPD spokeswoman told the Daily News. "It was a conscious decision, so he's being charged."

According to the Times, which talked with officials in New Jersey, where Scarlett has his commercial license, anyone "found to have recurrent seizures" would be disqualified from driving commercial vehicles. Drivers are required to submit a "fitness statement" from a doctor every two years.

A co-worker was in the cab of the truck with Scarlett, but was unable to keep it under control, reports say.

Timmins and Hardie -- whose ages are in dispute, though the Times and News say they were both 47 -- are the second and third Manhattan pedestrians to die this week. On Monday, Harvey Katz, 69, was hit by a cab and a bus on W. 57th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. He died at Bellevue. No charges were filed.

Photo: Charles Eckert/Newsday

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