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No Homicide Charge for Unlicensed Curb-Jumping Driver Who Killed SI Woman

A motorist who crashed on a Staten Island sidewalk was charged by District Attorney Dan Donovan with driving without a license and drug possession, but not for killing one pedestrian and hospitalizing another.

Christal Aliotta. Photo via Staten Island Advance
Christal Aliotta. Photo via SI Advance
Christal Aliotta. Photo via Staten Island Advance

On the afternoon of June 9, a motorist jumped the curb and hit 31-year-old Christal Aliotta and her 20-year-old cousin Stephanie Canecchio as they walked along Hylan Boulevard at Cleveland Avenue in Great Kills. Aliotta, the mother of two young daughters, died at the scene. She was struck after reportedly pushing her cousin out of the driver's path.

Police arrested Michael Fox, 23, who according to a criminal court complaint was found at the scene inside a 2005 Honda Accord with the engine running. The complaint says officers discovered a “hypodermic syringe, spoon with residue and tourniquet band” in the car, and found “two glassines containing heroin residue” in Fox’s pockets. Fox’s license had been suspended on May 23 for failure to answer a traffic summons, according to the complaint and the Staten Island Advance.

Fox was charged with possession of a controlled substance and third degree aggravated unlicensed operation, both misdemeanors. He was not charged with homicide or assault for killing Aliotta and injuring Canecchio. The criminal court complaint and arrest report only mention the victims in passing.

A spokesperson for Donovan’s office told Streetsblog prosecutors have Fox’s toxicology report, but declined to say what the results were. "[W]e are still reviewing them as the case is ongoing," the spokesperson said via email.

On the day of her daughter’s wake, Lisa Canecchio said she wants Donovan to upgrade charges against Fox. From the Advance:

"He took somebody's life," Ms. Canecchio said of suspect Michael Fox, 23, stressing that she wants the charge to be vehicular homicide or another felony.

"I don't care if he spends 50 years in prison," she said. "All I know is he's alive. He gets to go home. I'll never get to see my daughter again. Her kids are never going to get to see her."

Lisa Canecchio said NYPD crash investigators did not contact her or return her calls. She told the Advance she went to the 122nd Precinct, but detectives would not meet with her. Poor treatment of crash victims' loved ones is standard operating procedure for NYPD.

Fox posted $10,000 bail on July 10, court records say, and is due back in court on July 31.

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