Driver With Revoked License Not Charged for Killing East Flatbush Senior

A driver with a revoked license killed a senior in Brooklyn Tuesday. As of Wednesday he was not charged by NYPD or District Attorney Ken Thompson for causing a death.

The crash occurred in the 67th Precinct, where motorists have killed at least three pedestrians this year, and at least seven pedestrians since January 2013.

Will District Attorney Ken Thompson charge an unlicensed driver for killing a Brooklyn senior? Image: ##
Will District Attorney Ken Thompson charge an unlicensed driver for killing a Brooklyn senior? Image: ##–brooklyn-da-candidate-thompson-responds-to-attacks##NY1##

At around 5:40 p.m., Joan Hale, 71, was crossing Foster Avenue at New York Avenue north to south when the motorist, eastbound on Foster, hit her with a 2012 Subaru Outback, according to NYPD. Police said the driver, a 75-year-old man, was proceeding with a green light, but had no information on how fast he was driving or how he failed to avoid hitting the victim.

Hale suffered severe head trauma and died at Kings County Hospital. The driver was arrested for driving with a revoked license. His name was withheld by NYPD.

It is not easy to lose a driver’s license in New York State, even temporarily. Offenses that make a license subject to revocation include DWI, homicide, leaving the scene of a crash resulting in injury or death, and three speeding or misdemeanor traffic violations committed within 18 months. For all of these offenses, except one, the minimum penalty imposed by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles is a six-month revocation. Driving with a BAC of .18 percent or higher carries a revocation of at least one year. There is no automatic DMV penalty for killing someone with a motor vehicle.

State lawmakers have failed to hold unlicensed motorists accountable. Legislation to make it a class E felony to cause injury or death while driving without a license was rejected by the State Senate this year, and did not come to a vote in the Assembly. Another bill to require drivers with suspended licenses to surrender vehicle registrations and license plates did not get a vote in either chamber last session. As it stands, a $500 fine is the standard penalty for killing a New York City pedestrian while driving without a valid license.

Motorists have killed at least five New York City pedestrians in December, including a child and three seniors. In four cases, NYPD blamed the victim in the press. Last Friday a driver hit 64-year-old Gloria Ramiro as she crossed Third Avenue at 81st Street. She died from her injuries Monday. Police said Ramiro was “crossing mid-block,” according to DNAinfo. The driver was not charged.

To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Joseph M. Gulotta, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 67th Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the precinct, 2820 Snyder Avenue. Call 718-287-2530 for information.

The City Council district where Joan Hale was killed is represented by Jumaane Williams. Motorists have killed at least three pedestrians in Williams’s district in 2014. To encourage Williams to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-6859, or @JumaaneWilliams.

  • Aaron

    So, what happened to the killer driver? Did Ken Thompson give him back his keys and car along with his $500 fine? Is he still driving around Brooklyn with his revoked license?

  • Brad Aaron

    I can’t recall another time NYPD refused to release the name of a driver who was “arrested.” So my guess is nothing, yes, and yes.

  • Andres Dee

    We need to change our approach to how we prevent death of people who walk and bike. Instead of trying to investigate after someone is killed, when the only living witness is often the driver, let’s re-prioritize and make it clear to motorists that if they are caught driving in a dangerous manner, even if no one is hurt, they will be caught and prosecuted.

    Driving without a license should be a crime, not a violation.

    Failure to yield should be prosecuted as reckless endangerment or similar.

    Consequence-free use of car horns enables all sorts of bad behavior. Under the policy of “broken windows”, special attention should be paid to non-emergency honking.

  • Aaron

    I totally agree with this. I have come to view abusive horn honking as the base of the vehicular violence pyramid. The honking is indicative of the fact that drivers believe they have total impunity — that anything in their way deserves to be harassed with a loud horn, intimidated or, far worse, run over and killed.

    Go after lots of the little stuff with automated cameras and the injuries and fatalities will go down.

    Don’t call it “Broken Windows” though. Too unpopular. Frame it as Six Sigma Industrial Accident prevention.

  • Emmily_Litella

    Look at the kiniptions the media go through when some train engineer lets a non-employee touch the controls of his train for even a moment. No risk to anyone, yet careers have ended over this. But some unlicensed sleaze with a long criminal record of drinking and driving…

  • Joe R.

    Driving without a license should result in automatic forfeiture of the vehicle which was being driven. Any other charges would be secondary, but vehicle forfeiture should be automatic. Drive without a license, get caught, you lose your car for good.

  • I actually think mandatory sentencing is required here. Its not terribly difficult to get access to an automobile. If you’re caught driving with a suspended license, you’ve demonstrated you’re a danger to the general public. You lost your license because you cannot drive safely, and if you demonstrate you refuse to stop driving, that makes you a danger to the public There’s a place for people who are a danger to the public, its one of the few things the correctional system is able to successfully accomplish.

  • Joe R.

    Once any mandatory forfeiture law goes into effect, I suspect people will be very careful about who they lend their car to. Outside of stealing a car, which would merit a jail sentence in and of itself, there might not be too many opportunities for someone who lost their license to find a car to drive once theirs was forfeit.

    On another note, I AM in favor of very strict penalties besides vehicle forfeiture if you drive without a license AND injure or kill someone. In the latter case, killing someone, there should be a mandatory death sentence.

  • Alex

    “Legislation to make it a class E felony to cause injury or death while driving without a license was rejected by the State Senate this year, and did not come to a vote in the Assembly.”

    What the hell is wrong with people? Yes, I know this is Albany we’re talking about, but how the hell can you object to things like this? Same with making leaving the scene of an accident a felony. I’d seriously like to know more about the people in the state legislature who knock these common sense measures down. What unbelievable assholes.

  • Alex

    “But how will he get to work!?” is the common refrain. The double standards are sickening.

  • dporpentine
  • Nathanael

    The State Senate is run by one criminal, Dean Skelos, and he is an evil evil man. He only controls the State Senate by virtue of bribing 5 fake Democrats (Klein, Valesky, Carlucci, Savino, and Avella), and on top of that he only controls the State Senate due to deliberate, unconstitutional malapportionment (putting more population into liberal districts than into Republican districts). Someone who doesn’t have any compunction about subverting democracy is the sort of man who is probably a depraved killer.

    I don’t know about the Assembly, which is also run by one man, Sheldon Silver.

  • Nathanael

    Who’s running against Ken Thompson?

    Remember, the ads write themselves: Ken Thompson Coddles Killers. Replace the DA and you can get some progress going.

  • Alex

    I rarely hear good things about Silver. I never hear good things about Skelos. NYC needs to succeed.

  • Andres Dee

    “Licensing is just a way for the state to make money.”

  • Andres Dee

    How will the people he kills get to work?

    Contrast this with the laws that (in some cities) restricts where convicted sex offenders may live, to the point where some are living in abandoned warehouses on the edge of town or under overpasses. No concern over how they’ll work.

  • Nathanael

    From what we’ve seen, each precinct has its own behavior. The stats Streetsblog collected by precinct on dangerous-driver citations are illuminating. Some precincts are actually implementing Vision Zero, attempting to protect and serve. Others aren’t even trying.

    The 67th Precinct… well, seems like it deserves a good grand jury investigation, and probably most of the cops there belong in prison. A corrupt precinct is generally corrupt all the way through.

    I still remember the State Police Troop C case up here in Tompkins County — I think all but one officer ended up being convicted on felony charges, because they had been framing people routinely for 10 years, and they finally got caught.

  • Canarsie Yankee

    We already know he was driving without a license, can there at least be that much? Driving is not a right.

  • Canarsie Yankee

    Having moved to the Twin Cities from outer Brooklyn, there’s no excuse. Transit in the outer reaches of New York City exceeds that of the Twin Cities in all but a few places. There’s a subway stop not two blocks from the scene.

  • Reader

    What’s the point of getting a license, other than perhaps for times when you’re asked for ID at a bar or need to get on an airplane?

  • Canarsie Yankee

    Silver is also a puke. Skelos = Joe Bruno II.

  • ahwr

    Why’d he lose his license?

    Followed the links on what leads to license suspension:

    If you illegally purchase alcohol using your drivers license as proof of age your license gets suspended. I assume this applies to those under 21? Kids do stupid things. It’s part of growing up. Your kid tries to buy a beer, gets caught, doesn’t tell you. Then you let him borrow the car, he gets pulled over and the car is forfeit? Aren’t there cases where civil forfeiture has been used to take houses because the owner’s kid tried to sell a little weed?

    If you operate an uninsured motor vehicle or let someone else operate your uninsured vehicle you lose your license for at least one year. So if you borrow your friend’s car, and he tells you it’s insured, and insured for other drivers, when it isn’t your license can be suspended. If you mail a check late, or can’t afford to pay and your insurance gets terminated for lack of payment you can lose your license. What if you forget to mail the check and then go on a little road trip? While you’re gone your license gets suspended, then on the way home you get pulled over for driving 42 in a 40 in the right lane getting passed by plenty of cars because some cop needed to fill his quota and your car is forfeit.

    Suspended indefinitely if you send a bad check for DMV fees. So if someone writes you a bad check that you were counting on not bouncing and then the check you send the DMV for your car registration bounces in turn you lose your license.

    Suspended indefinitely if you fail to pay child support.

    In any of these cases is it possible for your license to be suspended without you knowing? Do you have to go to a hearing before they can take it away? Or can they just send you a letter informing you, one you’ll probably receive a couple days after police databases get your license flagged as suspended? What if you are involved in a crash, maybe you get rear ended at a red light, other driver is 100 percent at fault, but then the cops run the licenses to make sure they were valid, check for warrants etc…and then you lose your car, whatever mandatory prison sentence gets added in etc…

    I’m not saying any of this applies to this driver. If you want some civil forfeiture or mandatory sentencing for cases where someone lost their license for something involving driving a car and then continues to drive, then sure, that would probably be alright. But in the general case it seems like it would get abused/harm people unjustifiably.

  • Lol, mandatory death sentence might be a bit much, although it should be treated as a negligent homicide.

    I do think however, that you underestimate the generosity of idiots. I’m willing to bet even in this situation, there’d be lots of people who would still lend their cars.


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