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NYPD: Not Even a Ticket for Truck Driver Who Killed LES Pedestrian

3:53 PM EDT on August 21, 2012

We have more details on the August 9 crash that killed a pedestrian on the Lower East Side, though many of them conflict with information previously provided by NYPD.

According to a witness account first published by Bowery Boogie, the victim was crossing Allen Street at Stanton Street at around 10 p.m. when she was struck by the driver of a truck who stepped on the accelerator the instant the light turned. NYPD told Gothamist the woman died at Bellevue Hospital on August 11. According to Gothamist, NYPD also said that the Accident Investigation Squad did not investigate the crash.

When Streetsblog first contacted NYPD, the department's public information office said it had no information on the collision. "We’re not going to have anything unless there’s criminality suspected," a spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for City Council Member Margaret Chin told Streetsblog today that, according to the 7th Precinct, the department's Accident Investigation Squad was dispatched to the scene. The precinct said the vehicle involved was a truck, but not a garbage truck or a city vehicle, according to the spokesperson.

The police report said the driver "had the right of way" -- had the light -- remained at the scene, and had not been drinking, the spokesperson said. No summonses were issued.

An officer at the precinct said police "did not believe the driver was acting to purposefully hit the victim and determined this to be a genuine accident," the spokesperson said. This is largely immaterial, of course, since state law requires all drivers to operate with due care to avoid hitting pedestrians and cyclists. Nevertheless, only about half of New York City motorists who kill vulnerable street users are cited for careless driving, while those who injure are virtually never ticketed. Unless a motorist is under the influence, and the evidence holds up in court, criminal charges against drivers who maim and kill are extremely rare. Drivers who take a life can expect to retain or regain their driving privileges, even in cases involving alcohol or drugs.

How the driver in this case failed to see a person in the street directly in front of the vehicle before hitting the gas remains an open question.

Attempts by Streetsblog and others to ascertain the victim's identity have been unsuccessful. An NYPD spokesperson said today that, since the victim did not die at the scene, such information is not readily available to the public information office. The 7th Precinct told Chin's office it did not know the victim's age or race. An update posted today by Bowery Boogie reads:

The victim reportedly lived on the fourteenth floor of the Hernandez Houses at 189 Allen Street, where one of her neighbors knew her simply as Lorii. We are told that she was in her late-thirties or early-forties. Not much else is known at this time, other than there’s a "collection for her because no family member has come forward."

Chin's office did not have enough information about the crash or the investigation to provide a statement on NYPD's findings, according to her spokesperson.

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