No Charges From Cy Vance for Cab Driver Who Maimed Tourist Sian Green

The cab driver who hit a cyclist and drove onto a Midtown sidewalk, severing the leg of British tourist Sian Green, will not be charged with a crime by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

Here is a statement from Joan Vollero, Vance’s deputy communications director, released to the media today:

“Following a thorough, two-month-long investigation by the District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD, we have concluded that criminal charges cannot be filed in this case. In making this determination, prosecutors who are specially trained in vehicular crimes reviewed all available evidence and took into consideration relevant sections of the State’s Vehicle and Traffic Laws. They conducted interviews with multiple eyewitnesses, the taxi driver, the bicyclist, and injured parties, reviewed all available video surveillance, listened to numerous 911 calls, and retrieved the taxi’s ‘black box’ data. We are sensitive to the trauma faced by Ms. Green and others injured in vehicular crashes, and notified the attorneys and representatives for all parties last week of this decision.”

The August 20 crash attracted international attention, and Vance’s office and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly announced investigations, which is never a given following a serious traffic collision in NYC. Cab driver Mohammad Faysal Himon pleaded guilty to a suspension summons and surrendered his hack license on August 23, but reclaimed it a month later.

According to published reports, Himon has a history or reckless driving, with three moving violations in 2011, including citations for running a red light and doing 65 mph in a 45 mph zone, resulting in nine points on his license. He was also involved in another crash that resulted in injury, reports said.

After reportedly arguing with a bike messenger, Himon drove a quarter of a block on a Midtown sidewalk with the cyclist on the hood before slamming into Green. He confessed to the media that he intentionally stepped on the gas before mounting the curb.

“The Green Family is shocked by this news, and disappointed,” said Green’s attorney Dan Marchese, in a statement. Marchese said a Vance assistant DA “indicated that failure to charge was due to lack of evidence regarding the taxi cab driver’s intent during the investigation phase.”

There is no doubt that New York State laws can make it difficult to convict drivers on charges of deadly recklessness. But by declining to prosecute even the most brazen acts of vehicular violence, and failing to mount a concerted campaign to reform traffic code, district attorneys are ensuring that victims will continue to be denied justice. And in this case it also means a dangerous driver remains on the streets.

Said attorney Steve Vaccaro, who represents victims of traffic violence, via email:

I am stunned by the decision not to prosecute for lack of evidence of intent. To prosecute the driver for recklessness or criminal negligence, it is not required for the driver to have intended harm. All that is required is that the driver be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have behaved with respect to the risk of striking or injuring others in a manner that constituted a gross deviation from what was reasonable. The driver’s own public statements would seem to be enough. This outcome tells me we need new laws, and perhaps also new district attorneys.

We will have more on this case in the coming days.

  • KillMoto

    The only conclusion a driver can draw? Trying to kill someone on a sidewalk with your car is reasonable.

  • J

    Wow. This is pitiful.

  • Mark Walker

    This makes a mockery of justice.

  • ocschwar

    He needs to go

  • Citizen

    With a DA like this and a taxi industry that resists efforts to police and prosecute its drivers, Vision Zero faces a steep uphill climb. I wonder if de Blasio has the courage to look at his donors and do what’s right.

  • Adrian

    This is disgraceful, there has to be some sort of protest. Can TA get gold of the video footage and put it in the public domain so people can see exactly what this criminal got away with?

  • red_greenlight1

    Notice how he waited untilled after the election to announce this! Does NY election law allow for recall elections?

  • krstrois

    Welcome to New York, tourists.

  • red_greenlight1

    Screw the video footage. We need a massive Critical Mass! We need cyclists and pedestrians to shut down Midtown. The media will simply ignore a TA protest but they can’t ignore something so massive.

  • SteveVaccaro

    As crappy as the law is in this area, I think it is sufficient to the purpose. The charge to the jury should be, “Do you find beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Himon made a gross deviation from reasonable conduct when he
    accelerated his taxicab while it was aimed at the curb, and continued to
    accelerate for X seconds/feet after mounting the curb while on the sidewalk, without
    looking to see if pedestrians lay in his path, or ignoring the pedestrians he did see?” If a jury answered yes, that would be a conviction for reckless endangerment or third degree assault.

  • Adrian

    Don’t forget the cyclist on his hood who he 1) was angry at, or 2) didn’t see, depending on his responses before & after he’d spoken to his lawyer

  • SteveVaccaro

    I’m counting the person on his hood as a “pedestrian”

  • red_greenlight1

    How is a cyclist a pedestrian? At least under NYC law?

  • red_greenlight1

    Justice was well mocked before this. This is just beating the dead body of Lady Justice.

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    One would think there was at least enough here to go to trial. Maybe the jury doesn’t find the driver guilty but there is a good chance that they would. At least give the system of justice a chance to decide.

  • Jimbo853okg

    Is there any way for a Brooklyn resident to start a recall petition to fire Cy Vance Jr?

  • JoshNY

    Disgusting.

  • Jesse

    Well at the time he wasn´t on a bike…

  • red_greenlight1

    True but it wasn’t by choice. I’m sure if it was up to him he would have stayed on his bike. So I’m going to count him as a fellow cyclist.

  • SteveVaccaro

    You’re focusing on something irrelevant.

  • red_greenlight1

    I’m wondering this very thing. Is such a thing legal in NYC? Would a Manhattan resident have to start it.

  • anon

    Amazing, the guy is still driving a cab. The poor girl will get 100k from the cab’s insurance and may claim against the value of the medallion — about another 800k — if there is any equity in the medallion. A lot of them are financed to the hilt so even if she gets a judgement for 5 million, she has to force the sale of the medallion accounting for paying back whatever loan is outstanding on it. Best case, she get gets about 900k, 300k of which is deservedly earned by her lawyers because this case could take at least 3 years if it proceeds like that.

    In addition to better criminal laws and prosecutors we need better liability protections for all the people killed and maimed by these drivers. Also, if the driver is determined to have intentionally done this the taxi’s insurance company can argue that they are not responsible to pay the 100k because that is only for negligent acts.

  • FLYINGCHOPSTIK

    is there someone we can call and voice our concerns? i am very disappointed and i think the public should make some noise over this. this cy vance should be fired.

  • FLYINGCHOPSTIK

    would it make a difference if we contacted the Da office ? is there anyone over the da that can reopen the case? would a petition help?

  • Morris Zapp

    Community affairs number for Cy Vance’s office: 212-335-9082.

  • CSH

    Can TA and StreetsPAC please organize a protest? A few hundred people blocking 6th av where Green was hit? This is just disgusting…

  • KeNYC2030

    Sadly, Ms. Green is not related to Alan Dershowitz.

  • Joe Enoch

    It’s tough. We live in an auto-centric society and juries in the past have almost always sided with the driver in these cases since many of them are also drivers.

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    My point is that the DA shouldn’t be the one making the decision when there is this much evidence. Let a jury decide.

    If the jury is all auto-centric and don’t think what the cab driver did was a crime then fine. That’s the whole point of a jury.

  • TomG

    I feel like I’m going to throw up. I will do anything to get rid of Cy Vance. What a despicable, incompetent POS. Someone please let us know what we can do.

  • JamesR

    Not only is this incident a tragedy and a travesty, it’s also tremendously embarrassing for New York. Here you have a foreign tourist visiting this country’s biggest city, only to learn in the most agonizing way possible that we aren’t fully civilized. That may sound harsh, but no place that could allow this to happen without justice can be considered a civilized place of law and consequences. The UK government would be fully justified in issuing a travel advisory to its citizens over this.

  • Ben Kintisch

    I’m calling right now.

  • Ben Kintisch

    I just left a very angry voice mail. I hope all of the Streetsblog readers do the same. Better yet, call tomorrow during the day and try and reach a live person.

  • Annie tierney

    so who did you all vote for last week. this is rhetorical because Vance only had token opposition. We need to remember this in four year when he runs again.

  • LawDog25

    With all due respect, you are not privy to the complete facts of the case and the above blog is a very poor example of investigative reporting.

  • Joe R.

    One thing that can be done is to boycott the cab driver. We know who he is. It shouldn’t be a difficult thing to put him out of the cab driving business. The biggest travesty here is the fact that he was allowed to drive a cab again a month after this happened. In any civilized society he would have been banned from driving any vehicle for life.

  • ladyfleur

    No intention of harm? Of course he intended harm. Except it was harm toward the bike messenger, not the bystander.

    If he had pulled out a bat and swung at the bike messenger, missed, hit Ms. Green instead and caused her permanent disability would he get off so easily?

  • Kevin Love

    “…lack of evidence regarding the taxi cab driver’s intent …”

    So we have to be mind-readers to prosecute this criminal? My supply of people with mental telepathy skills is rather limited.

    Rest assured that if I am on a jury I will be looking at evidence concerning the CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. Intent? Sorry, I don’t do mind reading and I have zero skills at telepathy.

  • Rebecca_A

    Evan Alan Dershowitz could not get justice for his sister who was killed while bicycling on Manhattan Streets!

  • dporpentine

    For a couple of years I’ve been wishing I had the money to fund a billboard or bus or subway ad that just reads:

    Dear New York Drivers,
    Please stop killing people.
    You do this a lot.
    Sincerely,
    Everybody else (even you when you’re not driving)

    I think the point that it’s the drivers doing the killing needs to be driven home very soundly, so that juries are more likely to convict . . . and maybe DAs will therefore be more likely to charge people.

  • qrt145

    And perhaps Alan Dershowitz’s influence wasn’t enough to get a trial: that case was a hit-and-run, which the DAs have been slightly more inclined to prosecute than “just” recklessness or assault.

  • qrt145

    Let’s start a kickstarter for that! How much does such an ad cost?

  • Joe R.

    About $600 to $900 per bus for a 4-week period ( http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_it_cost_to_advertise_on_a_bus ). NYC has over 5,000 buses, so figure a total cost in the $5 million area.

  • KillMoto

    Go ahead and block 6th ave. All the cabbies will just take to the sidewalk, as any “reasonable” driver would do

  • KillMoto

    Frankly, I’ve cancelled plans to NYC over traffic injustice. There are many better places to go where one is less likely to be killed or maimed on the sidewalk.

  • qrt145

    Hm, it looks like it would take some really rich benefactors to put it on every bus.

  • SaintMarx

    A complete disgrace. No justice.

  • moocow

    That photo….

  • gneiss

    Then please educate us – what facts are we missing?

  • dporpentine

    That’s even more depressingly expensive than I thought it would be . . .

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