Driver Convicted in Killing of Francesca Maytin Is Behind the Wheel Again

Francesca Maytin (inset) and Lynette Caban. Photo: New York Post

A driver convicted of homicide is back on the road after serving one year for killing a Manhattan pedestrian.

Lynette Caban was driving with a suspended license when she struck Francesca Maytin in East Harlem on January 2, 2003, knocking the 82-year-old victim a distance of over 18 feet, according to a January 2012 press release from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

Maytin was in the crosswalk on Third Avenue between E. 107th and E. 108th Streets as Caban backed against traffic through two crosswalks in pursuit of a parking spot. It was reported that Caban and three passengers were on the way to JFK Airport when they decided to stop for pizza.

Caban had been summonsed months earlier, in October 2002, when she reportedly backed into an intersection in front of a Bronx school while attempting to evade an officer who was writing her a parking ticket.

In 2005, Caban was convicted of criminally negligent homicide for killing Maytin. She spent a year in jail. Vance inherited the case from DA Robert Morgenthau after a judge overturned the conviction based on a procedural error.

Vance secured the second conviction after the state Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, ruled that driving with a suspended license can be used as evidence of criminal negligence — a victory in its own right, hailed by safe streets advocates and described by Vance as “a significant step in holding drivers accountable for dangerous and unsafe operation of a vehicle.”

After the second verdict, the Post reported that Caban was using a drivers license issued under a different name, and that under the law she could not be given additional jail time for the same crime. Last month Caban was given a sentence of one to three years. According to Vance’s office, the judge sentenced her to time served — i.e. no additional time — and did not suspend her new license.

The Caban case, maybe as well as any, epitomizes the uphill climb faced by law enforcers who go after deadly drivers. That a habitually reckless killer can be free to drive again, even when prosecutorial forces are brought to bear, is further evidence of a New York State traffic justice system flawed from top to bottom.

  • Anonymous

    Horrifying story, though great reporting. Brad, how did you find out that Backup Zinger Lynette (sorry for my poor version of NYPost-speak) is again behind the wheel?

  • Great report.  News you won’t find anywhere else!

  • Brad Aaron

    @Komanoff:disqus  Based on a January story in the Post, linked above, and my queries to Vance’s office, she has had a valid license since 2008, which she continues to hold.

  • James Santiago

    Not only does she hold a license but will continue to hold one. If drunk drivers get their license privilege back, and Caban’s incident was not intentional (PLEASE READ COURT TRANSCRIPTS) why shoudl she not get her license back? She was not drinking nor on any drugs and she was made to take the written and road test again. Get a life Aaron and rest of you.

  • Mike

    Of course her incident was intentional — unless you are suggesting that her car put itself into reverse, on two separate occasions, and accelerated through crosswalks.

  • James Santiago

    Just because an officer takes the stand to testify, does not mean the officer is being honest in their testimony. The cop in Caban’s trial lied about her going through an intersection. Caban and the officer exchanged heated words about parking at a bus stop at the school, the officer became angry and wrote FOUR moving violations and ONE parking infraction. FIVE total. Because of this lying officer Caban was never able to get a fair trial. The jury and the People continue to hold on to the October, 2002 allegation as a basis for what happened on January 3, 2003. Without the lying officer writing excess bogus tickets, Caban’s license would have never been suspended. Her license was suspended for failure to pay those violations NOT for her driving. You think cops don’t lie, think again! They not only lie (check out the 44th precinct traffic ticket scandal) coincidently the same precinct where the officer at Caban’s trial works , they steal, they rape (remember the case of the taxi cab who called the cops so that the cops could make sure the intoxicated woman in his car got home safe?) Those cops took turns raping that woman in her own home. Cops sodomize people, remember Abner Louima? Sodomized a man with a toilet plunger and the guy who was sodomized with a  cop’s radio in the train station? Cops lie all the time. The female officer in Caban’s case lied about the school incident because Caban cursed her out for giving her a traffic infraction instead of doing her job. She was not a traffic cop but a regular patrol cop.

  • Eric McClure

    @0c13ad3f95b583deef39f2210a7d469f:disqus , fortunately we have lives, something Francesca Maytin was deprived of thanks to Lynette Cagan’s reckless driving and disregard for the safety of others.

  • Zulu

    Get a life? Which life would that be? Maybe the one she took by recklessly backing up her vehicle to snag a parking spot. Oh that’s right, it was only an accident. I’m sure Ms. Maytin’s family take comfort in knowing that her death was not intentional.

  • Mike

    Uh-huh. And I’m sure she’s NEVER backed through any other intersection and not gotten caught, ever, in her life.

    It’s incredibly hurtful that you’re talking about cops as rapists as a justification for murdering a woman in a crosswalk by illegally and dangerously backing up through a crosswalk — an action that is never acceptable, ever.

  • Joe R.

    @0c13ad3f95b583deef39f2210a7d469f:disqus Caban’s license was originally suspended because she made a CHOICE to exchange words with the officer, followed by a CHOICE to back up through an intersection. Remember she was already breaking the law by parking in a bus stop. I suspect if she hadn’t confronted the cop, she would have got out of it with only a parking ticket. On January 2, 2003 she made two more bad choices. The first was getting behind the wheel with a suspended license. The second was backing through an intersection for something as unimportant as a parking spot. This to me indicates a clear history of poor judgement. Since this poor judgement ultimately resulted in someone losing their life, I’m not seeing any good reason why Caban should ever be permitted behind the wheel of a car again. I couldn’t care less whether or not she did jail time. I just don’t want her or people like her piloting potentially deadly weapons on our streets. That’s really the biggest travesty in this case-the fact that those who kill or seriously injure through neglect or incompetence are again allowed to drive.
    It’s high time we blacklist those who through neglect or incompetence kill or seriously injure others while driving, complete with their DNA, to ensure they can’t drive in any civilized country for as long as they live, no matter how many times they change their name.

  • Justcheckin Around

    her new last name, according to the linked story, is Santiago…

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