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Motorist Havoc: Two Dead, Five Hurt, Kids in Critical Condition, No Charges

1:45 PM EDT on May 20, 2013

A pedestrian and a cyclist are dead after a series of crashes in Brooklyn and the Bronx in which motorists also injured five other people. Three of the victims were teenagers. One crash left two young boys in critical condition. No charges are known to have been filed by NYPD or DAs Charles Hynes and Robert Johnson.

On Friday afternoon, 16-year-old Zuleimi Torres was one of three people struck by the driver of an SUV on the Grand Concourse near Mt. Eden Parkway. From NY1:

Eyewitnesses said the car was going erratically down Grand Concourse, hit one pedestrian and then kept going and hit the other two pedestrians.

"He didn't stop, he hit the first person, he did not stop. He just keep going and then we see the second one again got hit. We said, 'Oh!'" a bystander said.

An off-duty officer arrested the driver as he tried to leave the car, but a breathalyzer test showed that the driver had no blood alcohol content.

Torres suffered a brain injury and died at St. Barnabas Hospital. Her friend, also 16, and the third victim, a 51-year-old woman, were hospitalized in stable condition.

Citing anonymous police sources, the Post reports that the driver "is not suspected of a crime," and a "medical condition may have contributed" to the crash. "Sources say the driver has a mental condition," according to News 12. "Investigators say the driver will not face charges."

In another crash early Sunday, an unidentified cyclist was killed by a livery cab driver in Crown Heights. From the Post:

The unidentified man was peddling [sic] eastbound on Eastern Parkway, between Underhill and Washington avenues, around 1:15 a.m. when he swerved in front of a car that was also traveling east and was struck by the vehicle, cops said.

The driver of the livery cab remained at the scene and no criminality is suspected, cops added.

Since the livery driver is the only person alive to talk to police, there is apparently no disputing his version of events. With a headline like "Bicyclist Stuck [sic] and Killed After Swerving in Front of Livery Cab," the Post certainly isn't going to do it. Neither, it seems, is NYPD, which within hours was repeating the driver's story as the official version of the crash.

Note that in these two fatal crashes, police leaked to the media only those details that served to exculpate the driver, blame the dead or injured victims, or both. While this is standard operating procedure for NYPD, the department otherwise guards crash information, even from victims' families, as a matter of course.

Meanwhile, the Daily News helpfully noted that the victim "was wearing a helmet but not carrying identification."

At around 9 a.m. Friday, 14-year-old Keiona Vann was hit by a motorist on the Concourse at East 167th Street. From DNAinfo:

"[The girl] flew, she hit the windshield, then she fell on the pavement," said Juan Tavera, who saw the accident. "She was moving her extremities, but by the time the police and firemen arrived, she wasn't moving anymore."

Tavera said the driver seemed to be traveling at normal speed at the time of the accident.

"You know I'm concerned because this is, this Grand Concourse is dangerous," said a witness to NY1. "The lights don't take too long to change. They gotta do changes here in the Grand Concourse cause this happens a lot here in 167th Street."

Vann was hospitalized in critical condition, and "no criminality was suspected," according to the Post.

Less than an hour before Zuleimi Torres was struck, two boys, age 9 and 11, were hit at Morrison and Westchester Avenues. Both reportedly suffered head injuries. The Post and other outlets reported that both were in critical condition at Jacobi Hospital. According to NBC, "No arrests were made."

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