Victim’s Mother Shames CBS2 for Using Traffic Death to Bolster Carl Kruger

Last December, Sonia King lost her son Jason after a truck driver backed up illegally and ran over him while he was in the crosswalk on Madison Avenue at 81st Street, walking to work. The next month, she watched a Marcia Kramer segment on CBS2 about State Senator Carl Kruger’s bid to ban walking while listening to music or talking on cell phones. The segment contained the following passage about her son’s death:

Jason was just 21 and his death and along with other accidents involving people using electronic gadgets while walking is why Brooklyn Sen. Karl Kruger [sic] is looking to ban things like cell phones and iPods for pedestrians crossing the street.

“We have people who are literally dying in the street,” Kruger said.

Dying, Kruger said, not because they are distracted drivers but because they are distracted walkers.

“They ran that segment about my son to promote Kruger’s law. We were very disturbed by it,” Sonia King told Streetsblog. “Nobody from the network contacted the family.”

In response, she sent the following email to CBS2, Carl Kruger, and the Manhattan DA’s office:

On December 7th, 2010 my son Jason King, aged 21, was crossing the street legally in the crosswalk when a large construction Mack truck illegally backed up into the crosswalk and killed him. The driver got only a summons. [Editor’s note: the driver has received additional penalties for careless driving, which is a traffic infraction, not a criminal charge.]

In the ensuing media frenzy, a politician, Carl Kruger, announced he is sponsoring legislation that he knows will never pass to ban people from wearing headphones while walking. CBS News, in the form of Marcia Kramer looking for an exclusive, intruded into our son Jason’s death by using his picture and his grieving coworkers’ comments to run a story for this politician and his political grandstanding. Neither CBS, their reporter Marcia Kramer or politician Kruger had the decency to contact the family for permission, a comment on their story or any other common courtesy.

The accident happened on Madison Avenue, a one way street. There was no reason for my son, Jason, to be looking to see if cars or trucks were coming the wrong way. The driver killed a 21 year old who was walking to work by backing illegally on a one way street into a crosswalk. None of that is mentioned by CBS or politician Kruger. Nor did they ask us, his family. They left the truth out of the story and used our son’s death to go for headlines and political pandering.

Shame on politician Kruger for leaving out the truth.

Shame on CBS for knowing the truth, omitting it and giving this politician his headline.

Shame on CBS for not contacting the family for a comment because they knew the truth would complicate their story.

Shame on Marcia Kramer for intruding into our familys grieving without any consideration just so she can run an incorrect story.

Only a summons for a driver who illegally backed into a crosswalk and killed a young man. No prosecution by the District Attorney. How about demanding that the District Attorney prosecute this driver for killing a young man, politician Kruger?

Sonia King says she has not received a response from CBS2 or Carl Kruger.

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