NYPD: Bus Driver Who Ran Woman Over Did Nothing Wrong

The bus driver who ran over and killed a woman in Canarsie last Friday broke no laws, according to NYPD.

Lorraine and Michael Ferguson. Photo via Daily News

Lorraine Ferguson was crossing at Avenue K and 105th Street at approximately 7:15 a.m. when the driver, operating a private bus carrying disabled adults, struck her while turning left. Michael Ferguson, the victim’s husband, witnessed the crash, and said the driver ran a stop sign before the collision.

Nonetheless, the Daily News reported on Friday that police have all but cleared the driver of responsibility:

He was not expected to be charged, police sources said. Contrary to Michael Ferguson’s assertion that the driver cruised through the stop sign, investigators found no immediate evidence the man had done anything wrong, the sources added.

No one disputes that the actions of the bus driver led to the death of Lorraine Ferguson. But in New York City, a lifeless body underneath a vehicle is not considered sufficient evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the motorist behind the wheel. That such a conclusion could be reached by police, and reported by the media without question, encapsulates the extreme dysfunction of our city and state traffic justice system.

As candidates for mayor and other citywide offices begin to shape their campaign platforms, no one is talking about the thousands of injuries and deaths that occur on city streets every year, or the fact that, in violation of state law, virtually none of them are investigated by Ray Kelly’s NYPD. This life and death issue continues to be ignored by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, two mayoral aspirants who are currently in a position to help make New Yorkers safer from reckless drivers like the one who killed Lorraine Ferguson.

  • Anonymous

    “But in New York City, a lifeless body underneath a vehicle is not
    considered sufficient evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the motorist
    behind the wheel.”

    This to me is where the logic is flipped. If you have operated your vehicle in an urban area in a way that caused a pedestrian death, that in itself is basically proof that you have failed to do so in a safe and responsible manner. This is especially true considering statistics show someone hit at 30mph has an 80% chance of surviving. So if a pedestrian is struck and killed, the odds would say that in most cases the driver was speeding. And even if they weren’t speeding, they were driving in a way that prevented them from seeing the pedestrian or slowing down enough to prevent a fatal collision which seems to me to be evidence of recklessness.

    If in driving through a city from one point to another it was your first and foremost priority to do so without injuring a single person – if that was more important than how long it took or how enjoyable it was – you would probably succeed each and every time. You would drive slowly, especially where sightlines were limited, avoid areas where people are highly concentrated, and be extremely attentive to cars and people in your path. Why then shouldn’t we expect that behavior from all drivers in all places at all times?

  • Jonathan Rabinowitz

    My condolences to the Ferguson family. Thank you, Brad, for writing this up.

  • Benjamin Kabak

    No one can solve this problem yet because they’re too busy getting outraged over subway platform safety.

  • The husband’s EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY is critical, immediate evidence that the bus driver did something wrong. HE SAW HIS WIFE GET KILLED BY A BUS THAT RANA STOP SIGN AND FAILED TO YIELD.  That’s not evidence? My god.

  • Wow, it appears the NYPD is trying outdo L.A.’s grim hit-and-run stats by ignoring the criminally negligent actions of the motorists they take into custody.  Stay classy, NYC. It will take awhile to beat L.A.’s  Death Race 2000 body count, but with a donut squad that doesn’t consider a dead body dragging beneath a chassis to be any sort of crime, you will beat L.A. in no time at all.

  • Andrew

    I’m confused. What difference does it make if the driver stopped? Even if he did stop, he then proceeded to drive over a woman.

    The driver at a stop sign is required to stop and yield to conflicting pedestrians and vehicles. I don’t know if he stopped, but he obviously didn’t yield to Ms. Ferguson.

    Is the NYPD aware of the law?

  • How is the police’s failure to produce evidence one way or the other “contrary” to a witness statement , Daily News?

    Contrary to scientific theory that the earth revolves around the sun, the NYPD has found no direct evidence…

  • Anonymous

     We can write off Bill de Blasio.  He is not at all interested in traffic safety.
    morning on WNYC Brian Lherer show, Lherer asked de Blasio how Bill
    would change Times Square into something attractive to “Real New
    Yorkers, and not just the tourists.”  de Blasio’s response was, that he
    is a driver, so he never wants to go to Times Square.  Was not impressed
    by Lherer’s line of questioning either.

    Earlier, de Blasio focused
    on backing down but NOT eliminating the NYPD Stop and Frisk program, but
    Bill had nothing to say about NYPD’s malfeasance in responding to
    traffic deaths.

    As to Christine Quinn, I have already given up on her as a viable traffic safety advocate.
    I don’t care who Quinn sleeps with, as long it isn’t Ray Kelly – which she appears to be doing regularly.

  • So  sad.  May her soul rest in peace.


The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (3 Killed This Week; 177 This Year; 15 Drivers Charged*) Fort Greene: Lucian Merryweather, 9, Struck on Sidewalk by Driver Who Also Hit […]