CIS Investigating Crash That Maimed Three Kids; So Far, Richard Brown Is Not
NYPD says the Collision Investigation Squad is investigating the Thursday curb-jump crash that injured five children in Maspeth, but District Attorney Richard Brown’s office says no subpoenas for cell phone records or EDR data have been issued, as police have determined there is “no criminality.” At least three of the victims remain in the hospital with serious injuries.
At 7:49 a.m. yesterday, a driver identified by the Daily News and the Post as Francis-Aung Lu drove a Honda SUV onto the sidewalk at Grand Avenue and 71st Street, near Frank Sansivieri Intermediate School, striking five kids outside a corner deli. Lu’s vehicle had to be lifted off two girls.
Media reports said Lu was dropping off his child and attempting to park. Reports said police did not expect to file charges, but NYPD told us this morning that, while Lu has not been charged or summonsed, the case is still open, and is in the hands of CIS.
This contradicts information from Brown’s office. When Streetsblog asked, via email, if the DA would subpoena the driver’s phone records and vehicle EDR data, a spokesperson replied: “The police have investigated the matter and deemed there was no criminality involved. As such, we would not issue a subpoena.”
Informed that NYPD said the case is still open, the spokesperson wrote: “The information I have is that the police have so far deemed it non criminal. If that should change we would, of course, review the matter.”
Whatever NYPD is doing to hold this reckless motorist accountable for injuring five schoolchildren, it’s pretty clear that so far Richard Brown is doing nothing.
Despite initial reports that downplayed the victims’ injuries, the Daily News says 13-year-old Angie Pena, the first victim Lu hit, is in critical condition. “The car smashed into her and hurt her really badly,” her father said.
Marina Abadir, 14, suffered head trauma, multiple spine fractures, and had surgery on both elbows. “They’re not really sure how many bones are fractured in her body,” said Sherif El Gawly, Abadir’s uncle.
Ashley Khan, 13, who like Abadir was pinned under the vehicle, has fractures to her pelvis and legs. Khan’s arterial blood flow was affected, the News says, and she has numbness in her leg.
Meanwhile, DNAinfo reports that I.S. 73 principal Camillo Turriciano sent out a letter yesterday advising parents not to allow kids to use electronic devices on their way to school:
The safety and well being of every child at Frank Sansivieri Intermediate School 73 remains at the forefront. To this end, we are sending you this notice pertaining to the safety of our students when traveling to and from school as an incident occurred earlier today.
Many of our students travel to and from school using public transportation each and every day. All children must be encouraged to be aware of their surrounding when riding the bus or train and walking to and from the school building. Headphones, CD players, iPODS or any other electronic devices used by children to occupy their time when commuting can be a threat to their safety as they do not permit children to hear what is going on in their surrounding environment. Therefore, as a continued safety precaution, we are asking that you keep your child free from using any listening devices when commuting so that they may be more in tune with their immediate surroundings.
There is no evidence that the kids who were struck yesterday were using electronic devices when Lu mounted the curb and plowed into them at speed, and there is no evidence that the presence or lack of headphones on the victims’ ears would have made any difference.
Turriciano could have written a letter asking parents not to drive kids to school, for the safety of their children and everyone else’s. He could have called on parents to pressure NYPD, DA Brown, and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley to hold the driver accountable. Instead he blamed all students in his care for engaging in what he believes to be dangerous behavior. This does nothing to help ensure this won’t happen to other kids.
Neither Lu nor his daughter were injured in the crash. “I have a police report, and the insurance company is working on the matter,” Lu told the Daily News. “I don’t want to comment on anything else.”