After NYPD Blamed the Victim, Brooklyn DA Will Reconstruct Lefevre Crash

Months after NYPD blamed cyclist Mathieu Lefevre for his own death, prosecutors with the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes continue their investigation into the crash. Meanwhile, the Department of Motor Vehicles has suspended the license of the truck driver who police say fatally struck Lefevre, then left the scene.

Photo by Chieu-Anh Le Van via ## Justice for Mathieu Lefevre##

Hynes’s office has retained an expert in crash reconstructions to revisit the Lefevre collision, according to Craig Esswein, chief of the Brooklyn vehicular crimes bureau. While the time frame is uncertain, Esswein said he hopes the reconstructionist’s findings will be available by fall.

Shortly after midnight on October 19, 2011, Lefevre was struck by the driver of a crane truck making a right turn at the intersection of Morgan Avenue and Meserole Street. The driver, who did not stop at the scene, was later identified by police as Leonardo Degianni. Though Degianni was cited for failing to signal a right turn and failure to exercise due care, a detective with the NYPD Accident Investigation Squad attributed the crash to “bicyclist error,” a conclusion disputed by the Lefevres and their attorney, Steve Vaccaro.

Unlike most New York City cyclist and pedestrian fatalities, the investigation into Lefevre’s death was scrutinized by city electeds and the media, due for the most part to the tenacity of bereaved family members. Last December, Lefevre’s parents filed a lawsuit against NYPD after the department denied a freedom of information request seeking records pertaining to the crash. The Lefevres have spoken openly about their shabby treatment at the hands of police.

Though NYPD considers the case closed, Esswein told Streetsblog the district attorney’s investigation is ongoing.

In March, the New York State DMV suspended Degianni’s drivers license indefinitely “pending prosecution” of the case, according to a suspension order, a copy of which was obtained by Streetsblog.

“It’s interesting to compare the response of three different agencies — the NYPD, the DA’s Office, and the DMV — to this crash,” says Vaccaro. “NYPD announced within days that there was ‘no criminality,’ a conclusion it confirmed with a hasty and questionable investigation. In contrast, the DA’s office has ordered a formal reconstruction of the crash to determine whether the driver Degianni ‘had reason to know’ he had struck Lefevre and therefore should be charged with hitting and running, and the DMV has ordered Degianni not to drive until he has been cleared of charges by the DA’s office.”


Brooklyn DA’s Office Reviewing Mathieu Lefevre Hit-and-Run

The office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes will conduct a review into the death of cyclist Mathieu Lefevre, according to the borough’s top prosecutor for vehicular crimes. Craig Esswein, chief of the vehicular crimes bureau, told Streetsblog that reviewing deadly traffic crashes is standard procedure. “Any time there’s a fatality the NYPD does their […]

NYPD Reportedly Lost Evidence Related to Crash That Killed Mathieu Lefevre

The attorney representing the family of Mathieu Lefevre has sent a letter to NYPD that raises serious questions about the investigation of the hit-and-run crash that took the 30-year-old artist’s life. The five-page letter from attorney Steve Vaccaro indicates that the NYPD Accident Investigation Squad has all but concluded that crane truck driver Leonardo Degianni […]

Family of Mathieu Lefevre Sues NYPD for Withholding Crash Information

The family of Mathieu Lefevre has filed a lawsuit against the NYPD for refusing to release information related to the hit-and-run collision that killed the 30-year-old Brooklyn cyclist last October. According to the complaint, filed in New York State Supreme Court on December 30 [PDF], NYPD denied a freedom of information request from Lefevre’s parents seeking […]

In Lefevre Case, NYPD Press Statements Don’t Match NYPD Crash Report

Speaking at yesterday’s Transportation Alternatives rally at 1 Police Plaza, Erika Lefevre pointed to inconsistencies between initial accounts of the hit-and-run collision that killed her son Mathieu and the version offered by the crash report, which her family obtained only after weeks of NYPD stonewalling. The case of Mathieu Lefevre is only the latest in […]