DA Robert Johnson: No Charges for Driver Who Killed Child on Bronx Sidewalk
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson filed no charges against a motorist who drove on a sidewalk outside a Bronx school in October, striking 10 people and killing 8-year-old Rylee Ramos.
New York City motorists have killed at least eight children age 14 and under in 2014 — one in the Bronx, two in Manhattan, and five in Brooklyn — according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. NYPD and city DAs charged just one driver for causing a death.
On Friday, October 24, Sonia Rodriguez backed onto a curb outside PS 307 on Eames Place in Kingsbridge Heights as children exited the school after dismissal, according to the Daily News. At least three of the people she hit were children. A classmate and friend of Rylee’s was hospitalized, along with a 4-year-old girl and four women, the News said. Rylee’s mother was among the victims.
Rodriguez pinned Rylee to a pole with her car. “She must have not put her brakes on, and the car comes zooming out toward where the kids are coming out of the school,” witness Lenora Croft told the Daily News, which posted video of the crash. “What finally stopped the car was the green pole — and that’s where the little girl was standing.”
Rylee was pronounced dead at Saint Barnabas Hospital.
The Times reported in October that Rodriguez was questioned and released by NYPD. At that time a source with Johnson’s office told Streetsblog the crash was under investigation.
That was seven weeks ago. When as of last week the case hadn’t turned up in an online database of court records — likely indicating that no charges were filed — Streetsblog asked Johnson’s office for an update. Our message was not returned.
On December 11, the Riverdale Press reported that Rodriguez, whom the paper did not identify by name, “has not been charged, though police said an investigation is ongoing.”
Some perspective on “ongoing” crash investigations: The investigation into the death of 9-year-old Cooper Stock was officially open for months after Manhattan DA Cy Vance’s office told family members no charges would be filed against the cab driver who killed him.
The Riverdale Press story says PS 307 parents are desperate for safety measures near the school, an area where motorists routinely drive recklessly.
Rylee’s family members have asked for speed bumps on surrounding streets, and speed cameras and crossing guards. In lieu of improvements, says the Riverdale Press, volunteers are attempting to slow motorists near the school with barricades and cones, and by directing traffic as students cross the streets at the beginning and end of each school day.
“It’s not fair that my niece’s death is going to be in vain because no one is doing anything,” Rylee’s aunt Joanna Torres told the Press. “This is supposed to be a safe haven, a safe place. Kids did not want to come back to school because of this.”