No Charges for Driver Who Repeatedly Ran Over Brooklyn Pedestrian

A livery cab driver repeatedly backed over a Brooklyn rabbi Monday afternoon in Crown Heights, killing him, but no charges were filed by NYPD or Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.

Yekutiel Rapp was crossing Empire Boulevard at Balfour Place at around 5:30 p.m. when the driver hit him while reversing out of a parking spot, according to reports.

Yekutiel Rapp. Photo via Yeshiva World News
Yekutiel Rapp. Photo via Yeshiva World News

From Crown Heights Info:

The driver, realizing that he had hit something but unaware that it was a person, backed up his car — running the man over a second time; in the ensuing mayhem, the driver then drove forward — running him over a third time.

Witnessing the horrific crash and first on scene was a pair of Shomrim volunteers, both of whom immediately sprang into action, forcing the driver to stop his vehicle while calling for emergency rescue services and attempting to free the gravely injured man from under the vehicle.

Together with a number of bystanders they attempted to lift the car enough to free the man. Another Shomrim volunteer arrived with a large car jack and further lifted the car, at which point firefighters arrived on scene and joined in the rescue effort.

“I heard the guy banging on the car telling him to stop,” witness Calvin Thomas told the Post.

Rapp, a noted 66-year-old orthodox rabbi, died at Kings County Hospital. Police had filed no charges as of this afternoon. An NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog the investigation is still open.

Unless the driver is charged and convicted of breaking a traffic law he will in all likelihood remain in good standing with the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

This fatal crash occurred in the 71st Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 71st Precinct council meetings happen at 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at MS 61, 400 Empire Boulevard. Call 718-735-0527 for information.

Yekutiel Rapp was killed was killed in the City Council district represented by Laurie Cumbo, and in Brooklyn Community Board District 9.

  • Reader

    Congrats to Chief Chan and Commissioner Bratton, however. Since NYPD began its bike crackdown, no New York City pedestrian has been killed by a reckless cyclist.

  • JamesR

    Can anyone speak to the nature of the training that livery cab drivers undergo before getting a license? Repeatedly backing over someone is total amateur hour behavior. This is a professional driver we are talking about here. Imagine if the pilot of an aircraft ran over one of the flightline staff while taxiing to the runway? How is this any different?

  • Alan

    From the Yeshiva World photographs, it appears the Rebbe was standing in an unmarked crosswalk when he was killed, which would give him the right of way:

    Unfortunately, I would not count on the NYPD to know what an unmarked crosswalk is, or to charge the driver— but perhaps the Shomrim or Lubavitch community would be motivated to educate them, in this time of tragedy.

  • Brad Aaron

    After medallion owners complained about a driver shortage, the TLC dumbed down the hack license exam. For-hire licenses are easier to acquire than hack licenses.

    Per Uber: “Getting a TLC license is not a complicated process. All it requires is a little paperwork.”

  • Mark Walker

    How can repeatedly driving a car over a human body while the person bangs on the car begging for mercy not be criminal negligence? In a sane system that truly protected public safety, the license would have been suspended on the spot, revoked soon afterward, and the vehicle would have been confiscated. But this “professional” driver still has his license and vehicle, and he’s still driving around, isn’t he?

  • Not even a vehicular manslaughter charge??
    The standards for drivers in this city are obviously MUCH lower than they are for the rest of us.

  • Some Asshole

    To be fair, the driver was backing out of parking. You can’t hold anyone to the intense standards of making sure nobody is behind them when doing parking maneuvers. That would be inhumane.

  • BBnet3000

    Let the cabbie go. Prosecute the top DMV and TLC officials for negligence or at least fire them for dereliction of duty. If I let a grizzly bear loose in Times Square and somebody got mauled, would you arrest the bear?

  • Joe R.

    I totally don’t understand why NYC allows this, either. I called 311 to complain about school buses parked adjacent to the crosswalk numerous times. When they said it was legal, I asked well then how can a person safely cross a street if their view was blocked by parked vehicles? I never got a good answer to that. A few times they said to wait for the walk signal. My response was the walk signal isn’t a magical force field which prevents cars from going over the crosswalk. I still need to see what’s coming to safely cross. They had no answer to that other than stunned silence.

    This practice of allowing parking right up to crosswalks should be ended immediately. Not phased out gradually, but ended by legislative fiat or executive order in one fell swoop. It’s highly dangerous, plain and simple. NYC needs to get its priorities in order. Private vehicle storage should be way down on that list.

  • I don’t want him to go to jail, I want him to be prevented from driving a car, for the protection of the public. This is what driving laws should focus on.

  • How is it that someone who’s understanding of driving includes, “hmm…I ran over something, don’t know what it is, lets run over it again” is allowed to drive, and will continue to be allowed to drive.

  • nu nu

    We should start using the word “murder” when describing situations where a driver kills – in fact murders – a pedestrian. To say that the pedestrian “got killed” or “died” makes it sound like they were the active part. They were murdered, end of the story.

  • Some Asshole

    At the same time, the cab driver is certainly more responsible for his actions than a bear.

    It doesn’t have to be an either-or.

  • neroden

    In order to be very legally precise, I usually call it manslaughter.

    Because it’s manslaughter.

  • neroden

    Actually, I would arrest the bear and lock it up, but I’d treat it as having “diminished capacity”. I’d arrest you too.

  • neroden

    Bingo. This. Jail is not necessary. Revocation of driving privileges IS necessary, and it’s not happening.

  • neroden


    Our laws make it very clear that this was criminally negligent manslaughter.

    But what do we have to do to prosecute it? Citizen’s arrest? Private prosecution?

    We have corruption in the NYPD and corruption at the DA’s office.

  • neroden

    Have we got the name of the criminal who’s being protected by the corrupt NYPD yet? Or at least his cab license number?


The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (2 killed this week, 132 this year, 19 drivers charged*) Brownsville: Theauther Love, 87, Hit By Officer Driving NYPD Traffic […]

In Memoriam

As of this writing New York City is on track to break the record for the lowest number of pedestrians killed by motorists in a year. The current low mark of 132 139 deaths was set in 2014, the first year of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative. Assuming the official numbers bear it out, the de Blasio […]

The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle mayhem across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (1 Killed Since 3/26, 37 This Year, 7 Drivers Charged*) Williamsbridge, Bronx: 40-Year-Old Pedestrian, Known as “Nevel,” Killed Walking His […]

The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle mayhem across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. No charges were filed in this week’s collision that took the life of Astoria pedestrian Abundio Mendez-Perez. Photo: YourNabe Fatal Crashes (3 […]

The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (7 Killed Since March 8; 40 This Year; 1 Driver Charged*) Crown Heights: Roshard Charles, 5, Backed Over by Hit-and-Run Driver While Walking […]