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NYPD: No Charges for Driver Who Hit 10 People, Leaving Boy Brain Dead

3:35 PM EDT on April 1, 2013

A motorist jumped the curb and slammed into a bus stop and scaffolding in East Flatbush on Saturday, striking up to 10 pedestrians. Four people were hospitalized in critical condition, including a woman and her young son. According to the Post, Denim McLean, whose age has been reported as 2 and 3, is brain dead.

Within hours NYPD told the media that charges were unlikely, despite witness accounts that the driver was speeding.

The family of Denim McLean says he is brain dead. Photo via Daily News

The crash occurred in the 67th Precinct, where at least three pedestrians have died in traffic in the last five months, and where police issued just 45 speeding tickets in 2012 -- an average of one every eight days.

Details vary somewhat as to how the crash unfolded. The Times reported that, according to NYPD, the driver was northbound on Utica Avenue near Church Avenue at around 6:50 p.m. when she swerved to avoid another vehicle. Police told DNAinfo that the driver, 48, "accidentally" hit the accelerator instead of the brake as she approached a red light at Utica and Church: "As she swerved to avoid colliding with the traffic around her, the vehicle jumped onto the sidewalk, hitting up to nine pedestrians, police said."

From the Post:

Witnesses saw the boy [Denim McLean] facedown and unconscious near a pile of shattered glass, blood gushing from his tiny head.

“That little baby looked dead,” said Lawrence Nicholas, who rushed over from a nearby hair salon.

“When I looked in the baby’s eyes, I never saw any life. I started to cry,” said Paris Rainey, 30.

Good Samaritans tried to revive the injured boy.

“I ran outside and jumped over the car. I tried to do CPR on the baby,” said Lenox Blocker, 40. “The baby wasn’t even winking.”

"They said the lady who hit them must have fainted or did something, because she didn’t know what happened," said the boy’s aunt, Dierdra McCorkle, 51.

The Post says Wendy McLean, 37, is semi-comatose and does not know of her son's condition. Another female victim was pinned to a building, and one was an 86-year-old man, according to the Post.

Witnesses told the Daily News that the unnamed driver, who was hospitalized along with a passenger, was speeding before the crash. That she jumped a curb and hit multiple people with a vehicle is not in dispute. Nevertheless, NYPD apparently concluded its work with characteristic haste. As early as 10:27 p.m. Saturday, less than four hours after the incident, the Post reported: "Police do not believe the crash was a crime." A Post follow-up published this morning reads: "Cops said the driver passed a breath-alcohol test and would not be charged."

Kenneth Cole, Gerald Green, and Jason Williams were all killed by motorists in the 67th Precinct since last November, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. While the precinct wrote 45 speeding tickets in 2012 [PDF], and 71 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian, officers issued 5,219 summonses for tinted windows, and 2,216 for seatbelt violations.

To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Kenneth C. Lehr, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct, go to the next community council meeting. The 67th Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the precinct, 2820 Snyder Avenue, in the second floor conference room. Call 718-287-2530 for information.

The City Council district where this serious crash occurred is represented by Jumaane Williams. To encourage Williams to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-6859 or @JumaaneWilliams.

With 48 killed and 5,377 wounded, Brooklyn saw more pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths than any other borough in 2012, according to NYPD. With one known prosecution, Charles Hynes led all NYC district attorneys in charging sober drivers for taking a life.

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