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NYPD Let Witnesses Leave Scene of Fatal Fort Greene Crash

3:33 PM EDT on July 21, 2010

aileen_mckay_dalton.jpgAileen McKay-Dalton

The NYPD failed to follow up with at least one key witness in its investigation of the crash that killed Aileen McKay-Dalton earlier this month, according to a woman who saw the collision and stayed at the scene.

Witnesses were allowed to leave the scene without being interviewed by police or leaving contact information, said Tara Simoncic, who was driving behind the SUV that struck and killed McKay-Dalton at the intersection of Clinton Avenue and DeKalb Avenue on July 8. Of the three witnesses who remained at the scene, only two are named in the NYPD's accident report, a copy of which has been obtained by Streetsblog.

NYPD filed no charges against the SUV driver, identified as Joel Loudon Murphy, who was heading north on Clinton when he struck McKay-Dalton, riding west on her Vespa.

Simoncic was driving some distance behind Murphy, she said, but with no cars in between them. "The SUV was going fast through the intersection," she recalled. "I saw the moped entering into the intersection and the SUV hitting the moped."

Simoncic remained at the crash scene with two other witnesses. After being ignored for some time by the police, she said, she went over to the squad car to talk to an officer. She recalled him telling her, "'You can stay or you can go, I'm not going to make you stay.'"

When one of the three witnesses, Hector Maldonado, had to leave around 15 minutes later, Simoncic says that she, not an officer, took down his contact information. Otherwise, she said, the police wouldn't have had a way to reach him.

A third witness remained at the crash location longer. She was a student, said Simoncic, and had just parked her car to go take an exam, which she skipped to stay at the scene. "She was traumatized," said Simoncic. "We all were. We still are." Simoncic didn't take down her name and contact information, assuming the police had it.

Only Simoncic and Maldonado are named as witnesses in the police report. The name of a third witness does not appear anywhere in the document.

According to Simoncic, both Maldonado and the third witness told her
they were positive that the SUV driver was speeding and ran a red
light. "They seemed without a doubt," she said. "I asked them each
several times." Maldonado declined to be interviewed for this story.

NYPD may have neglected to interview other witnesses as well. Given that the collision took place at a busy intersection during evening rush hour, said Simoncic, "I have a hard time believing we were the only three people who saw that accident." 

NYPD's public information office maintains
that there was no criminality in the crash. The department has not returned Streetsblog's request for an
explanation as to how it reached this determination. Detective Ryan, the Accident Investigation Squad detective assigned to the case, has not returned phone calls.

Though the NYPD has declined to look further into the circumstances of the crash, Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes has opened a separate investigation, the scope of which may include NYPD's handling of the case. More than 500 people have signed a petition asking NYPD to re-open the investigation.

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