No Charges or Summonses for Driver Who Killed Kiko Shao, 5, in Sunset Park

Witnesses say the driver of this SUV was listening to loud music when he hit Kiko Shao head-on, hitting her with a front and rear tire. Image: NY1

A driver who was reportedly listening to loud music when he drove over a 5-year-old and nearly hit her sister in Sunset Park yesterday has yet to be charged or ticketed.

An NYPD spokesperson said Kiko Shao was running northeast on 55th Street when she was struck by the driver of a Cadillac Escalade, who was southbound on Fifth Avenue. The crash occurred sometime around 3:30, as Shao walked with family members home from school, reports said.

NYPD would not tell Streetsblog the name of the driver, a 28-year-old male with a valid license. The spokesperson said the investigation is “ongoing.”

Said a spokesperson for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes: “We’re looking into it.”

Published accounts are somewhat inconsistent, but for the most part don’t match NYPD’s version of events. NY1 and the Post say Shao was walking with her father. The Daily News says she was with her mother. Witnesses told the Post and News 12 that Shao was also with her sister.

“He [the driver] was not speeding,” said a witness, to NY1. “He just crossed the light. Maybe the light had just changed. I don’t know what happened, but he was just coming forward, and the little baby was standing right along nearby the 22 right there, and the front tire knocked her down, and then the rear tire ran over her.”

According to a witness quoted by the Post, there were two children in front of the SUV, they were walking — not running — and the driver was blasting his sound system as he approached:

Witnesses said Shao was walking with her older sister and following their father when a white Cadillac Escalade playing loud music hit the younger girl as her older sister dodged the oncoming car.

The driver of the car got out of the vehicle and stood watch as EMS performed CPR to the kid for about five minutes, said Mohammad Isa, 23, who witnessed the aftermath. “I just saw his face, he looked devastated.”

The Daily News devoted all of 119 words to this story. Reporters Thomas Tracy and Mark Morales seem open to blaming either the victim’s mother or the child herself, but again there is no indication that Shao was running.

The girl was not holding her mother’s hand as they crossed the street near 5th Avenue and 55th St. in Sunset Park around 3:15 p.m., sources said. The little girl drifted into traffic and was crushed by a white Cadillac Escalade, sources said.

Regardless of what Shao or her father or mother or sister did prior to the collision, state law puts the onus on drivers to avoid running people over. Children can not detect the presence of oncoming vehicles or gauge speed as adults do. At least six children age seven and younger have been killed by New York City motorists in 2013, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death for children in NYC. A recent WNYC study found that an average of five kids between the ages of five and 17 are struck by city motorists every day.

The Daily News has already reported that “No criminality is suspected” in the death of Kiko Shao. If this crash follows the pattern of hundreds if not thousands of others, “investigation ongoing” and “We’re looking into it” are the equivalent of “case closed.”

Bike Snob ran the Escalade’s plate numbers and says the owner was issued three tickets this month for a missing or expired inspection sticker.

This fatal crash occurred in the 72nd Precinct, where traffic enforcement is practically non-existent. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain James Grant, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 72nd Precinct council meetings happen at 7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the precinct, 830 Fourth Avenue. Call 718-965-6326 for information.

The City Council district where Kiko Shao was killed is represented by lame duck Sara Gonzalez, who was defeated by StreetsPAC-endorsed Carlos Menchaca in the Democratic primary.

  • Kevin Love

    Eliminating this child-hostile environment is precisely why The Netherlands consistently tops the UNICEF index for child well-being. Compare the horrors of New York with somewhere that actually cares about children. For example, here:

    Or wouldn’t you want to be one of the children here?

    and join the campaign for childhood freedom here:

  • Frank Dell

    RIP Kiko Shao. My condolences to her family, friends and schoolmates. Undoubtably, they are the ones who are truly devastated.

  • Daniel

    Kiko’s death just makes me so sad. Maybe we can’t get to zero deaths in a city this size. But there are just so many things that could have prevented Kiko’s death. A vehicle of that size should not be in private hands inside city limits, much less with tinted windows and a radio blaring. That kind of truck with extreme care and very slowly when within city limits.

  • stranger

    I read on newspaper it took about 30mins for ambulance to come and is between lutheran hospita and maimonides medical center. They need more medits in NYC

  • Anonymous

    Community Affairs officer at 72nd told me that driver was charged with multiple summonses. Can you find out what they were?

  • angrycitizen

    Such a sad story. According to the Chinese news media World Journal, it said the family was very devastated that the hospital took out Kiko’s brains without the family’s consent, and also had the mom with limited understanding of English sign an agreement that her daughter’s remain would not be released for 2 weeks. She had no idea that she signed such agreement until the family tried to make funeral arrangements. The mother was not allowed to board the ambulance – which took more than 45 minutes total before the kid finally arrived at the hospital. Instead of letting the mother be with her dying daughter, she had to stay at the accident scene to give the police report.

  • Sunset park neighbor

    I live in the neighborhood and alot of these children are always running in the street without looking and their parents are no where to be found I am not siding with the driver but parents need to teach their children the safety of crossing the street

  • Danny G

    Surely Sunset Park is not the only neighborhood in the first world with both children and cars. Safety education may be one part of the puzzle, but let’s look at the big picture and try to learn a thing or two from other places where children don’t get killed as often, and then implement them back home.

    Take a look at this chart on Wikipedia:

    If you click on “Road Fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year”, its sorts it from low to high, showing the safest countries at the top of the chart. This shows clearly that when it comes to safe streets, some places are doing it right, and some places are doing it wrong. Let’s steal ideas from the safest countries, and get on track to have our death rate as low as them.

  • America! We care!

    Please!! Tragedies like this need to stop! No more loud music blaring while driving. One’s safety lot much prior than showing off. No more organ removal without family’s/patient’s consent! We are living in such a diverse community. How difficult is it to get a language translator?! While Chinese language in NYC are just as popular as Spanish. How difficult is it for a city hospital to provide forms in different language?! The mother could have been next to the daughter at her last breath. She did not have to died in a cold surgical room alone!

  • Citizen

    We paid tax for the crimes to lessen, for providing helps to the ones in danger! Why does nypd spend time doing report instead of sending helps ASAP, and while the murder/witness are around, they could have gotten the report from those ppl. The dying daughter could have spend her last heart beat with her mom’s temperature. Every time when one in danger makes a call to 911, instead of getting help right away, they made you spend 15 mins reporting. EMS means to get to the scene ASAP and help others to survive. God bless the family!

  • How can we help

    Seems like not just the economy here is going down hill, so are the justice and moral systems! the hospital put so much focus on making profits. The laws/rules must be reinforced! Tell us, the city residents, what can we do to help our community avoiding such tragedies! I believe many of us out there care!

  • Facts Please?

    I don’t see any facts about what actually happened in any of the stories or in this article. There’s conjecture about how loud the stereo in the SUV was, which is generally subjective. Nothing else gives any idea who had the light, how quickly the child entered the street, and so on.
    I’m not saying the driver is definitely innocent, but I don’t see how you can call for charges against a driver who stopped immediately and remained at the scene without some kind of proof that they did something wrong. Sometimes a kid does just run into the street, and this is the result. Just assuming the driver is at fault without any factual basis is as ridiculous as always blaming cyclists or pedestrians in sweeping generalizations.

  • Facts Please?

    An Escalade may be taller, but is still smaller in length and width than most of the cars that were on the road 20-30 years ago. They aren’t as massive as everyone here pretends they are.

  • UrFav

    Her mother was not there and she was alone! It’s her mothers fault for not being with her child. She was 2 blocks away. So get the story right and stop lying.

  • Anonymous

    If you watched the video you will know. Both her parents and sister were present.

  • zz

    so it’s ok to hit the child?

  • Joe R.

    Taller is the problem. SUVs are designed with high ground clearance for running off road, and high bumpers made to kill any animals which get in the way when driving in the bush. They have no place in a city. Those bumpers are at an optimal high for killing and maiming pedestrians, especially small children.

  • Joe R.

    It’s the driver’s fault for driving too fast to stop in time. When you’re driving in an area where there are lots of pedestrians, especially parents with small children, you go no more than 20 mph regardless of the speed limit. If you don’t have a clear line of sight of the sidewalk to see any children starting to wander into the street you drive even slower. I do this on my bike, motorists can do the same. The fact is children will dart into the street no matter how careful their parents are. If people drove in a civilized manner, instead of like they’re in NASCAR, such an occurrence wouldn’t be fatal.

  • wendy

    The one crying is the mother

  • Andrew

    That’s exactly the issue. We don’t know the facts. Was the driver operating at a safe and legal speed? (The witness in the NY1 article claims he wasn’t speeding, but is there any way to shed light on the issue?) Did he run a red light? (The witness seems to be confused about this point.) Was the driver distracted from the task of driving, for example by a cell phone? Was the driver’s music loud enough to interfere with his ability to drive safely?

    The various reports don’t even agree on whether Kiko Shao was walking or running and whether she was with her father, her mother, or her sister.

    It’s impossible to definitively determine who is at fault without these facts. Is the NYPD actively working to obtain these facts? If so, why has the Daily News already reported that “No criminality is suspected”? Isn’t it too soon to say?

    And the fact still remains that – as stated in the article – ” Regardless of what Shao or her father or mother or sister did prior to the collision, state law puts the onus on drivers to avoid running people over.”

  • Sandy Melissa Chavira

    Please the police or someone has to do something about a guy Paul Bryant posted a video of this lil angel laying there n I find it disturbing beyond disrespectful for the precious little girl and he family! May god bless them
    N help them fin peace in their hearts! I have reported it but someone do something idk if police can do anything but something need to be done about this video on fb please idk who to complain to!

  • Annmarie

    Why doesn’t everyone stop blaming the damn parents of family wake up don’t you realize what this poor family is going thru don’t u think it’s going over and over in that family’s head they could of done a million things different we are all guilty of turning our heads for a second etc yes and this video on Facebook by Paul byrant needs to be taking down and he needs to learn some low life recording a child s last breaths and parents nightmare. How dare all of you bash that family !!!!!!!!

  • Annmarie

    I agree he should be taught a lesson how dare he record that no human sympathy in this time of day and everyone who shared it too should get a fine

  • d

    It’s not the drivers responsibility to watch for your kid when your right f***ing there. We’re not in China, get off the road. Hold your kids hand around moving vehicles. Don’t let them “wander in to traffic”. And if she was alone, shame. What moron parents let a 5 year old girl walk anywhere alone.

  • Ian Turner

    Actually, on the contrary, it really is drivers’ responsibility, legally and morally, to watch for kids crossing the street, whether others are around or not. Please stop blaming the victim.

  • Ian Turner

    Drivers have a legal and moral duty to exercise due care. In a busy business district like this one, part of due care means driving slowly and carefully enough to be able to stop for children running out into the street. So yes, it is fair to assume the driver bears some responsibility for this incident.

  • Ian Turner

    Hmm, I would think that if children are always running in the street, then drivers would need to learn to watch for this apparently common occurrence. After all, it’s drivers, not children or parents, that are creating a dangerous environment.

  • Andy

    Listening to loud music, not having your eyes on the road. Sounds like reckless driving to me. Yes its the drivers fault. You wanna know why? I work for the NYPD.

  • Vivian Mendoza

    I was there to see it while I was walking home. I live only very little away. I heard rumors that the father told the sister (old) to watch the 5 yr old from Dunkin’ Donuts. Then the little girl ran onto the street and got hit. But, since SUV’s are usually big, it wasn’t the drivers fault. The fife year old could’ve been tiny and the driver wouldn’t see out the window.

  • Vivian Mendoza

    Also there was a memorial grave on the left corner street light where hundreds of people put flowers and candles after the accident.

  • Vivian Mendoza

    Being a officer doesn’t mean nothing. Were you in on the case? Possibly. At least use evidence.

  • qrt145

    The fact that SUVs are usually big and have blind spots increases, not decreases, the burden of responsibility on the operator. When you are operating dangerous machinery, it is your responsibility to be extra careful not to drive over things that you can’t see or at speeds at which you can’t react.


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