Vance Upgrades Charges, Secures Manslaughter Indictment for LES Crash

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance secured a manslaughter indictment against a driver accused of killing a pedestrian in a high-speed crash on the Lower East Side.

Cy Vance. Photo: Manhattan DA

A Vance press release says that on the evening of November 24, 2014, Danny Lin was allegedly speeding northbound on the Bowery in a BMW when he drove into 57-year-old Robert Perry near the Rivington Street intersection, hitting Perry with such force that he was thrown a distance of more than 140 feet. “After striking Mr. Perry,” the press release says, “Lin continued a block before driving onto the sidewalk and crashing into a fire hydrant near several pedestrians.”

Perry died soon after he was taken to the hospital.

Lin, 24, was initially charged with homicide and leaving the scene. Earlier this month, Vance issued a more severe charge of manslaughter, according to court records. Vance announced Lin’s indictment today.

From the Vance press release:

“Less than three weeks before this fatal collision, New York City lowered its speed limit, recognizing that pedestrians struck by vehicles traveling at 30 miles per hour are twice as likely to die as those struck at 25 miles per hour,” said District Attorney Vance. “This defendant is charged with speeding down the Bowery at more than twice the new speed limit, allegedly striking and killing a 57-year-old man. Miraculously, no one else was hurt when the car he was driving crashed into a hydrant on a sidewalk filled with other pedestrians. City streets are no place for this kind of reckless driving and dangerous speed.”

In New York State, criminally negligent homicide is a class E felony, the lowest level felony category, with a maximum penalty of four years in jail. Manslaughter is a class C felony, and carries penalties ranging from probation to 15 years in prison.

New York City prosecutors don’t often file serious charges against a driver who kills someone unless the crash involved aggravating factors like drunk driving, leaving the scene, fleeing police, or striking the victim intentionally. It is possible that Lin’s speed, or that he is accused of continuing to drive recklessly after the collision, putting more people at risk, led Vance’s office to pursue this case. Even so, according to records compiled by Streetsblog, in only a handful of instances in recent years has a sober New York City driver who was arrested at or near the scene of a crash received a manslaughter charge.

One of those cases was brought by Vance, when Jessica Altruz rammed 67-year-old Margaret Fisher with a car on Columbus Avenue in 2010. Altruz pled guilty to manslaughter and, following a recommendation from Vance’s office, was sentenced to as little as six months in jail.

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