Victoria Nicodemus, 14th Person Killed by Curb-Jumping NYC Driver in 2015
An alleged unlicensed driver who witnesses say was traveling at a high rate of speed struck and killed a woman on a sidewalk in Fort Greene yesterday.
Marlon Sewell, 39, drove a Chevrolet SUV over the curb at 694 Fulton Street, near South Portland Avenue, at around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, striking 30-year-old Victoria Nicodemus, her 37-year-old boyfriend, and a 75-year-old man, according to reports.
Police told WPIX Sewell was “zooming” down the street. Witnesses said Sewell drove onto the sidewalk because he was driving too fast to stop for a B25 bus in front of him.
From the Daily News:
“The bus stop was right there. He didn’t realize it was stopping,” said witness Anthony Singh, 22, who works on the corner. “The driver went up on the curb trying to avoid it. He was going pretty fast.”
“She lost a lot of blood,” he said. “Her body was really pale. They were pumping her chest while they took her away on the gurney.”
“This place was a madhouse,” said Byron Logan, 72, who was buying lottery tickets when the accident happened. “I’ve never seen so many people screaming.”
Nicodemus, an art curator who lived in Brooklyn Heights, died at Brooklyn Hospital Center. Her boyfriend and the third victim were hospitalized.
NYPD charged Sewell with aggravated unlicensed operation and driving without insurance. Aggravated unlicensed operation, a low-level misdemeanor, is the same charge police and prosecutors apply when an unlicensed driver commits a traffic infraction. It carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 30 days in jail, though plea deals usually result in a fine and no jail time, even when a driver kills someone. Sewell was not charged by police or District Attorney Ken Thompson for killing Nicodemus and injuring the other victims.
“She was an incredible young woman,” Peter Miller, Nicodemus’s brother, told the Daily News. “She was the light of our lives. Honestly one of the most beautiful souls.”
The crash occurred in the 88th Precinct, where officers issue an average of just 10 speeding tickets a month. Two years ago a curb-jumping SUV driver killed 9-year-old Lucian Merryweather as he stood with his mother and brother at the corner of DeKalb and Clermont avenues, also in the 88th Precinct.
The driver who killed Lucian was charged with assault and homicide and was sentenced to five years probation and a five-year license revocation.
Motorists have killed at least 14 people on sidewalks and inside buildings in 2015, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. There were five such fatalities reported by Streetsblog and other outlets in 2014.
From a statement released by Transportation Alternatives this morning:
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson must prosecute this case to full extent of the law and send a strong message that reckless driving will not be tolerated. Given that driver Marlon Sewell has been charged with operating his car without a license, we also call on state lawmakers to take action on State Senator Michael Gianaris’ legislation to toughen penalties for motorists who kill while driving without a valid license.
Though the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad is still at work on the case, eyewitness accounts suggest the SUV driver was speeding. The NYPD must continue to step up speed enforcement consistently across all precincts. In addition, New York City must be able to deploy more automated speed enforcement cameras than the 140 currently allowed under state law, and those devices should be able to be operational outside school zones, and at all times of the day or night.