Will DA Ken Thompson Drop Case Against Bus Driver Who Killed Senior?

On the evening of December 23, 2014, 78-year-old Jean Bonne-Annee was crossing New York Avenue at Farragut Road in Brooklyn when an MTA bus driver ran him over while making a left turn.

Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson
Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson

Bonne-Annee died at the scene. He was the eighth pedestrian killed by a turning MTA bus driver in 2014.

Police arrested driver Reginald Prescott and charged him with violating the Right of Way Law, which is intended to hold drivers accountable for killing or injuring pedestrians and cyclists who are following traffic rules.

Because Prescott was driving a bus and was charged for killing someone, TWU Local 100 and some members of the press have devoted much attention to a crash that otherwise would have received little or no notice. On Tuesday Pete Donohue of the Daily News reported that District Attorney Ken Thompson may bow to pressure from the TWU and dismiss the case.

Arraignment proceedings for Prescott were canceled, Donohue reported, “as prosecutors and his union defense lawyer agreed neither to go forward with a formal reading of the charges nor require Prescott to enter a plea, as is customary.”

“We pressed a pause button to say ‘stop’ with the view towards the district attorney ultimately dismissing the charges completely against Mr. Prescott,” TWU Local 100 legal director Kenneth Page said.

A spokeswoman for Brooklyn prosecutors would only say that the case remains under investigation. No new court date for Prescott was set during his appearance in court Tuesday morning.

“[T]he case is still being investigated and the charges have not been dropped,” a Thompson spokesperson told Streetsblog via email.

As Ben Fried wrote this week, before the Right of Way Law NYPD and prosecutors didn’t investigate the vast majority of serious traffic crashes, and declined to pursue charges in fatal collisions that did not involve extenuating circumstances like DWI or leaving the scene. The strength of the Right of Way Law is that it removes driver intent from the equation: If you harm someone who is walking or biking with the right of way, you committed a misdemeanor.

The court process may reveal that Prescott was not at fault. What shouldn’t be in doubt is a full and fair disposition of the case. Otherwise, people who are following all the rules will continue to be denied the protection of the law, as they were before.

  • Nathanael

    If they drop the charges, that would be pathetic.

    I don’t want to be in a bus driven by someone who drives recklessly enough to kill.

    Seriously, why can’t he pay the fine and take a defensive driving course like a normal person…

  • Corrine

    It’s terrible that a life was lost but the lighting in the area was poor and the bus was only going 3mph on the turn. The operator was not reckless.

  • Cold Shoaler

    Oh, Corrine has conducted the due process for us. No need to bother with police, lawyers, and the court. Thx. You’d make a fine DA.

  • Corrine

    The corner needs improved lighting. There are many contributing factors to an accident. How come the DOT didn’t have a left turn signal at that corner?

  • Corrine

    Bus operators are being set up for failure. Narrow two way streets built for trolleys and now bus routes should not have bike lanes.

  • lop

    Which bike lane are you talking about?

  • Corrine

    Bike lane on Vanderbilt Ave in Brooklyn along the B-69 route is a nightmare

  • Corrine

    Wythe Ave and Grand St.. Brooklyn. They cram a bike lane or a shared lane on narrow Streets with bus routes and then wonder why accidents increase. No bike lanes on narrow bus routes!!

  • Corrine

    B-32 Whyte and Metropolitian , Street too narrow. Bus has to crossover bike lane on his blind side to pick up passengers.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

DA Ken Thompson Still Hasn’t Charged Driver for December Sidewalk Killing

|
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson charged the driver who killed Victoria Nicodemus on a Fort Greene sidewalk with unlicensed driving, but did not file charges for taking the victim’s life. Six months after the crash, Nicodemus’s family says the DA is dragging his feet on the case. Marlon Sewell hit Nicodemus, her boyfriend, and another person with a Chevrolet SUV […]

In Memoriam

|
For as long as anyone can remember, New York City has treated most drivers who kill other people as unwitting players in someone else’s tragedy. With a new mayoral administration and the advent of Vision Zero, 2014 was to be the year the city began in earnest to hold reckless motorists, including those whose negligence would ordinarily […]

4 Times DA Ken Thompson Pursued Token Charges Against Unlicensed Killers

|
Police and prosecutors say Marlon Sewell was driving without a valid license when he struck Victoria Nicodemus and two other people on a Fort Greene sidewalk last Sunday, killing Nicodemus and injuring her boyfriend and the third victim. According to the Post and DNAinfo, Sewell was also arrested for unlicensed driving last March, and in November was summonsed for […]