Cab Driver Who Killed 5-Year-Old Remains in Good Standing With TLC

The cab driver who killed a 5-year-old child in Brooklyn last year is still on the road. Meanwhile, the civil suit filed by the victim’s parents was transferred to NYC this week from Texas, where the family lives.

Timothy Keith
Timothy Keith

In April 2012, Timothy Keith and his mother and father were on their first trip to the city when, shortly after they dropped off their bags at a hotel, the child was struck on Hicks Street, in Cobble Hill. Reports published after the crash said Timothy, who was deaf, ran into the street.

“I saw taxi yellow so fast,” Timothy’s mother Eva Keith, who is also deaf, told the Daily News. “Driver hit my son but my son can’t hear.”

“There was no time,” cab driver Usman Gul told the Post at the scene. “He stepped out and I hit the brake.”

Timothy died from his injuries days later. Gul was not charged by NYPD or Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

The suit, which names Autumn Cab Corporation and NYC Taxi Group as defendants, claims Gul was speeding.

The intersection of Hicks and Amity in Brooklyn, New York is a busy, residential intersection where vehicles are commonly parked on the side of the road. Defendants’ employee and/or agent, Mr. Gul was negligently traveling at high speed under the conditions presented and failed to keep a proper lookout. Mr. Gul’s taxi struck Timothy Keith and caused his body to impact the street pavement with severe force.

The complaint says the defendants were “negligent in failing to properly train and supervise” Gul, and claims the cab companies failed to “have necessary safety policies and procedures in place regarding the operation of Yellow Cabs in residential, high foot-traffic areas.”

According to TLC records, in November Gul’s license to drive a cab was renewed for two years.

The suit was originally filed on January 3 in Texas, and was transferred to federal court in Brooklyn this week. “We will vigorously pursue the case in Brooklyn or anywhere else,“ said Jeff Embry, the Texas-based attorney for Keith’s family.

Civil cases are often settled out of court, but if this suit goes to trial, Keith’s family will have to travel to New York. Traffic injuries and fatalities involving tourists, and residents whose families don’t live in New York, are common. In addition to grief and physical injuries, pursuing justice from long distances is another hardship suffered by victims and their families — particularly in the face of an indifferent, if not hostile, NYPD.

Last summer, British tourist Sian Green lost part of her leg when a cab driver struck her on a Midtown sidewalk. Green filed suit against the city, claiming cabbie Faysal Himon, who reportedly has a history of reckless driving, should not have been behind the wheel. Himon was not charged by NYPD or Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. As of last week, according to a TLC spokesperson, his license remains current.

  • Bolwerk

    What is the speed limit there? 35mph is already ridiculously fast for a stretch of urban street with pedestrians. However, if it can’t be shown he was going over the legal speed limit, I don’t see how they have a case. 🙁

  • Kevin Love

    They have a case because the cab driver was negligent in going so fast in a residential/hotel area that he was unable to stop in time when a child ran out in front of the cab.

    A child running in a residential/hotel area is a reasonably foreseeable event that can be reasonably foreseen by any reasonable person. Failure to take the reasonable precaution of being able to safely stop the cab when this reasonably foreseeable event comes to pass constitutes negligence.

    The posted speed limit is irrelevant. That is a maximum speed that applies to areas of the street that do not contain any obstacle behind which a child may be lurking before he runs out into the street.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    You’re asking motorist to be reasonable by slowing in areas where there is higher chance of pedestrian injury. But they don’t care, just look at the % who speed normally, not caring that speeding is a top killer in NYC, especially with children. So the cop motorists and judge motorist make sure their friend motorist (only the top 30% of the city) get off without even a slap on the wrists.

    If you drive on residential streets, drive at 20. You’ll slow down traffic around you, help save lives, and still get where you’re going in about the same time. If you value a few extra seconds over the possible death of a deaf 5 year old, keep speeding through our neighborhoods.

  • KillMoto

    I’d be shocked if the police collected black box data. Why isn’t it required to be collected in cases of motorist killings? We would know with certainty* the state of the brake pedal and the speed of the car. Just like in airplane and train wrecks. How is it possible cabs are allowed on the roads without a requirement to surrender black box data when someone is killed?

    * No system is perfect. But I’d rather there be an argument over calibration of a car’s speedometer than blindly accept a driver’s assertion of “I was doing the speed limit… whatever it is…”

  • JamesR

    There is no universal “black box” in cars currently. Some have them, some don’t. Sometimes, the data is proprietary and only accessible by the vehicle manufacturer. Take the Paul Walker crash, for example. They’re having to get Porsche involved to get the data. It’s been weeks and they still haven’t released it yet.

    I wish we could stop perpetuating the myth that the block box is something that exists in the way it is often portrayed here.

  • Miles Bader

    this seems like an area where the government should be forcing them to standardize on something…