No Right of Way Charge for Driver Who Killed Toddler in Bronx Crosswalk
Update: Darcel Clark’s office sent us this statement: “Our office is investigating the incident with the NYPD Accident Investigation Squad, as we do with any fatality or serious injury when a pedestrian is struck.”
NYPD and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark have not charged the driver who struck and killed 3-year-old Mariam Dansoko in a crosswalk near Yankee Stadium Monday.
Mariam, her mother, and a 2-year-old sibling in a stroller were crossing E. 164th Street at Gerard Avenue north to south when a 21-year-old man hit Mariam with a 2014 Nissan while turning left from Gerard, which is northbound, onto E. 164th, according to NYPD and published reports. DNAinfo reported that Mariam was on her way to preschool when the crash occurred, at around 8 a.m.
“There’s no charges at this point,” an NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog. True to NYPD protocol when a motorist kills a pedestrian and is not charged or ticketed, police shielded the driver’s identity.
We have a message in with Clark’s office asking whether the DA is investigating the crash.
E. 164th Street and Gerard Avenue are one-way residential streets that meet at a signalized intersection. There is no dedicated turn phase, meaning motorists and pedestrians are signaled to enter the crossing at the same time. If they entered the crosswalk before the pedestrian signal flashed orange, Mariam’s family would have had the right of way.
Accounts of the crash from Mariam’s family members indicate the driver attempted to turn at an unsafe speed.
“She said, ‘Mommy the car is coming’ before the car came,” Rougui Kebe, Mariam’s mother, told WNBC. “Before I go back, the car hits her right away.”
Mohamed Kebe, Mariam’s uncle, told the Daily News the driver had to swerve to avoid striking his sister. “The driver saw the mother,” Kebe said. “He tried to avoid her, but he didn’t see the little girl behind her.”
Hours after the crash, anonymous NYPD sources told the Daily News the collision was an “accident.” WNBC reported that “criminality was not suspected.” While the media obsessed over the precise distance between Mariam and her mother at the moment of impact, implying the behavior of the victims somehow precipitated the crash, no press coverage we’ve seen addressed the actions of the motorist who ran the child over.
Council Member Vanessa Gibson pledged to approach DOT about improving the intersection where Mariam was struck, according to DNAinfo. As with thousands of crossings in residential neighborhoods, the city allows motorists to park to the edges of crosswalks at E. 164th and Gerard, so drivers and pedestrians can’t see each other as well as they could if DOT used daylighting measures.