Trucker Who Killed Cyclist Anna Rodriguez Charged With Manslaughter

The truck driver who killed a cyclist in Queens yesterday was charged with homicide after he tested positive for cocaine.

Image: WNBC
Image: WNBC

NYPD said Dennis Forceri, 57, drove a tractor-trailer into 34-year-old Anna Rodriguez while making a right turn at 56th Road and 48th Street at around 8:45 a.m. Rodriguez suffered trauma to her head and body and died at Elmhurst Hospital.

WCBS reported that Rodriguez lived in Ridgewood and was a single mother with a young son.

A motorist, Eddie Ewald, told WCBS the area where the crash occurred, in a warehouse district, is “extremely chaotic” during morning hours. “Everybody’s speeding through here,” Ewald said.

“The car is not really paying attention to you, making turns when you’re right next to them, pulling into parking spots,” said cyclist Daniel Salvatierra. “It’s terrifying.”

DOT’s Vision Zero data map shows crashes are common on 56th Road, with many injuries to motor vehicle occupants, a sign of high-speed collisions.

Police initially said Forceri was charged with driving with a revoked license. He was later charged with first degree vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, driving under the influence of drugs, aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to yield, and careless driving, according to Gothamist and AMNY. Forceri’s case did not turn up in a search of online court records early this afternoon.

NYPD has not yet released the name of the company that owns the truck Forceri was driving. Serious crashes caused by unlicensed or impaired commercial drivers are not unusual in NYC. There should be sanctions for companies that allow such drivers behind the wheel.

This morning Public Advocate Letitia James issued a statement on the most recent series of pedestrian and cyclist deaths at the hands of reckless drivers:

Over the past eleven days, five pedestrians and one cyclist were killed by motor vehicles in New York City. We must continue to work together to achieve Vision Zero, which requires good street design, education, and enforcement. Too many innocent New Yorkers are dying on our City’s streets and sidewalks, and we have a moral and civil responsibility to use every tool in our arsenal to make our City safer.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is known for pleading down cases against drivers who kill people, rather than taking them to trial, even when defendants are accused of committing high-level felonies like aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter. Streetsblog will follow the case against Forceri as it progresses.

  • JoshNY

    Cocaine! So THAT’S what it takes.

  • djx

    So if you do it on drugs it’s illegal. If you do it sober, it’s OK. WTF.

  • Omykiss

  • YouandWhoseArmy3D

    first degree vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide,
    driving under the influence of drugs, aggravated unlicensed operation,
    failure to yield, and careless driving

    I didn’t realize that to be charged with one vehicular crime, a precursor was to be on drugs.

    It’s pretty clear that most drivers that cause collisions are guilty of everything quoted that I didn’t strike through.

    I don’t even think massive jail time is appropriate for most vehicular manslaughter charges.

  • Bobberooni

    It could be hard to make some of those charges stick. This still looks like a classic right-hook with a truck, and the biker could quite likely be found at fault. Just because someone was high or driving without a license doesn’t AUTOMATICALLY make it their fault — although I believe this driver should certainly face SOME criminal charge.

  • Maggie

    yes, if there’s anything this Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday has shown in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, it’s that people can be mowed down at any time without the cops seeing them as worthy of any legal protection.

  • Andrew

    This still looks like a classic right-hook with a truck, and the biker could quite likely be found at fault.

    At fault for what? For not being yielded to?

  • armyvet00

    Yeah it isn’t the drugs, it’s the negligent, irresponsible driving (that way too many ignorant drivers think is legal, like yourself it seems). The drugs just prompt the police to actually charge the driver. In a normal, sane world, piss poor driving that resulted in death would face charges no matter the intoxication or lack thereof.

  • neroden

    All that matters to me is that this reckless driver gets TAKEN OFF THE ROAD. Driving on a revoked license — in a TRUCK?

    The truck owner should be charged with recklessness too, for not checking that their driver had a valid license!!!

  • neroden

    In general I think the correct “punishment” for most careless driving / vehicular manslaughter charges is license revocation. Get the reckless driver off the road, you’ve removed the problem.

    Of course, for *driving on a revoked license*, you have to have a stronger punishment, so for that, jail time would be appropriate.

  • T. S. Collins

    I know Anna’s family and this has been a very tough time for them. Anna was a very experienced rider and a safe one (wore a helmet, had proper lighting, didn’t run red lights/stop signs, etc.), this accident and the tragic results of it are the truck drivers fault plain and simple. The fact that he was behind the wheel while his license was revoked clearly shows he was not obeying the law so it is no wonder he would not obey the law when it comes to yielding to others on the road.

  • Pancho Franco Rodriguez Grajal

    Atención conductor, peatón, ciclistas, ciudadanía en general ya es hora que nos escuchen. No mas muertes de ciclistas, peatones en las calles. Firma ésta petición y hagamonos sentir. Compártela. #AdoptaUnCiclista #Regalame1minuto
    #ComparteLaCarretera #A3PiesHayVida #HazteSentir

    Share this URL: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov//petition/cyclists-are-dying-puerto-rico-we-call-pr-government-safer-and-better-cycling-infrastructuremore-awareness

    Sign please

  • Pancho Franco Rodriguez Grajal

    Dear friends,

    I wanted to let you know about a new petition I created on We the People, a new feature on WhiteHouse.gov, and ask for your support. Will you add your name to mine? If this petition gets 99,999 signatures by January 03, 2016, the White House will review it and respond!

    We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.

    You can view and sign the petition here:

    http://wh.gov/ivKbA

    Here’s some more information about this petition:

    Cyclists are dying in Puerto Rico. We call on PR government for safer and better cycling infrastructure/more awareness.

    Too many cyclists have been injured on our streets or are mourning the death of a loved one due to poor cycling infrastructure, ignorance of the law and distracted, drunk or negligent motorists. Protecting all people who ride bikes, walk, run, and work on P.R’s streets is vital to making our community a better place to live. To the Governor and Members of the Legislature and Senate in PR we, the undersigned, say that cycling is a legitimate recreational and practical use of public roads with demonstrated benefits to the community. We are calling for urgent action to accelerate their plans, and to be clear about their intentions for cycle safety. Cyclists are losing their lives at the expense of slow progress on cycle safety. We are calling for an urgent action from the government.

    Sign please

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG