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Streetsblog Files TLC Complaint Over Reported West Village Fatality

2:23 PM EDT on May 9, 2012

Streetsblog has filed a complaint with the Taxi and Limousine Commission over a crash that reportedly killed a pedestrian in the West Village.

Absent criminal charges or a consumer complaint, the Taxi and Limousine Commission takes no action against a driver who harms a pedestrian. Photo: Daily News

On May 2 at about 9:54 p.m., a 70-year-old woman walking her dog was crossing Jane Street near Hudson Street when she was hit by the driver of a yellow cab, according to FDNY and published reports. The victim suffered head trauma and was transported to Bellevue. Two days later, we were informed by a reader that, according to the 6th Precinct, the woman died from her injuries. NYPD would not confirm the fatality.

A story in DNAinfo reported that the cab driver was not charged. Unless a cabbie faces criminal charges, or a consumer files a complaint, the Taxi and Limousine Commission has no lawful basis for action against a driver who harms a pedestrian, a TLC spokesperson told Streetsblog. Potential sanctions include the suspension of a driver's TLC license, and additional actions can be taken based on the outcome of a case.

The spokesperson could not immediately determine whether action is pending against the driver involved in the West Village crash. There are two "drivers of record" for the cab in question, the spokesperson said.

At least two other cab crashes have killed city pedestrians this year. Dan Fellegara, 29, and 5-year-old Timothy Keith were hit by yellow cab drivers in Manhattan in Brooklyn, respectively. An unnamed cyclist was also fatally struck by a livery cab driver in Queens. Police and prosecutors filed no known charges for any of those deaths.

The inability of the Taxi and Limousine Commission to act against dangerous cab drivers in the absence of a complaint, given that the affected consumer may or may not be alive to file one, is of a piece with the NYPD policy of exonerating motorists who kill based on nothing more than their own testimony.

Using information about the West Village crash obtained from FDNY, NYPD and the Daily News, including photos depicting the cab's medallion number and, reportedly, the driver, I filed a reckless driving complaint with the TLC, in my name, via 311. Our hope is to learn what happened at Hudson and Jane on the night of May 2, and at the very least establish a record of the incident with the TLC.

Complaints against cab drivers can take months to play out. In the interim, Streetsblog will keep you updated on what we know of this reported fatality.

This story originally stated that TLC action against a cab driver is contingent on the outcome of a criminal case. The copy has since been corrected.

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