Truck Driver Kills Cyclist Leah Sylvain in Bushwick — Victim-Blaming Ensues

Joseph Cherry struck and killed 27-year-old Leah Sylvain while she biked up the Evergreen Avenue bike lane early this morning. Photo: Google Maps
Joseph Cherry struck and killed Leah Sylvain on Evergreen Avenue early this morning. Photo: Google Maps

A fuel truck driver struck and killed Leah Sylvain, 27, as she was biking on Evergreen Avenue in Bushwick this morning.

Sylvain was traveling north in the bike lane when Joseph Cherry, also traveling north, turned his truck to the left across her path, fatally injuring her. Sylvain was lying on the road with head trauma when police and EMS arrived at 6:46 a.m. She was pronounced dead at Woodhull Hospital.

Cherry, 52, was charged with misdemeanor careless driving, two moving violations for failure to yield, and another unspecified violation, according to NYPD.

While Sylvain clearly had the right of way and Cherry broke the law by failing to yield, CBS New York‘s Ilana Gold reported that Sylvain “slammed into” the truck, citing police investigators. Gold’s video segment said Sylvain was riding on the sidewalk, which subsequent NYPD reports corrected, and that witnesses said she was “distracted on her cell phone.” The video has since been taken down, and the references to sidewalk riding and the cell phone have been removed from the online text of the CBS story.

Sylvain is at least the fifth cyclist killed by a New York City driver in 2016 — and the fourth in Brooklyn.

If you’d like to voice your concerns about street safety in the area to Deputy Inspector Maximo Tolentino, the commanding officer of the 83rd Precinct, the precinct community council meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the precinct house, located at 480 Knickerbocker Ave.

This morning’s crash occurred in the City Council district represented by Antonio Reynoso.

  • Joe R.

    The same person is posting now as “Jeff Schine”. Please IP ban him/her and get rid of this troll once and for all.

  • qrt145

    “Bikes are required to follow the rules of the road the same as motor vehicles. At crosswalks, even while in a bike lane, you need to act like a pedestrian”

    So which is it, are bikes vehicles, or are they pedestrians?

    I’ve never seen a bike line in a crosswalk. There certainly isn’t one here; the bike lane is some 10 feet away from the crosswalk.

    Except at intersections signalized with a green arrow, turning vehicles never have the right of way over people lawfully going straight. Not over pedestrians, not over other vehicles, not other bikes.

    The driver violated the victim’s right of way here, as evidenced by the facts that the driver was turning, there is no green arrow at this intersection, and the crash occurred. Everything else is irrelevant.

  • Vooch

    note – victim was crushed to death by rear tires a impoosibility if she “rammed the rear of the truck.”

    Amazing that some entitled Drivers can not fathom that when They make a Turn the onus Is entirely on the turning driver not to crash Into other cars, cyclists, people, children, trees, sidewalks, or planters

  • Joe R.

    In other words, a biker needs to obey the rules of the road the same as cars, but act like a pedestrian when you come to an intersection. Be careful at intersections so you don’t end up dead like Ms. Sylvain.That’s why they’re called bicycles because they’re treated like both…a pedestrian and a motor vehicle. Learn and live.

    I also see another bike rider was killed last night. Bikes shouldn’t be allowed on the road at night where you’re practically invisible to motor vehicles. Another dead dumb bicyclist.

  • Vooch

    Don’t you think it makes sense for the bike rider to stop if there;s a truck in front of them already committed to a turn? I know if it was me, I would stop until my path was clear which this girl that got killed clearly didn’t do because she was distracted by using her cell phone and she wasn’t wearing her helmet because she didn’t want to mess her eyebrows.

  • ahwr

    With TOR, VPNs etc…there is no safe space on the internet. Griefers/trolls feed off your reactions.

  • Joe R.

    I just flagged two comments of this same person posting using Joe R. and Vooch.

  • Joe R.

    And now the same jerk is posting using the screen names of at least two regulars here—myself and Vooch.

  • bolwerk

    I’m with qrt. Driving in New York is chaotic as hell, but usually you can change lanes.

    Knowing where the lane is? Well, that’s another problem.

  • ahwr

    Speak for yourself, numbnuts. I made those posts so shut the fuck up you whiny faggot, Joe R. I don’t need an assholelike you that purposely engages trolls for your own amusement. Mr. Doe and Jeff Schine make valid points. We as bikers need to take responsibility for our actions and our reckless riding habits.

    From now on, I will make sure the intersection is clear before proceeding into an intersection and not use my cell phone so I’m not distracted either. I don’t want my skull cracked open the way it was to that poor Ms. Sylvain who was chatting on her cell phone and not paying attention when she rode into the side of Mr. Cherry’s oil truck. How much damage did she cause to the truck? I didn’t read any mention of that.

  • Joe R.

    “Brad Aaron” has been banned from Streetsblog.

  • Brad Aaron

    “Joe R.” has been banned from Streetsblog.

  • Joe R.

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  • BBnet3000

    I just read Newman’s updated police report. According to eyewitnesses and the police investigation, Leah Sylvain was on her cell phone and was riding on the sidewalk at the time of the accident. The truck made the left turn well ahead of Sylvain when she rode off the sidewalk and into the left rear side of the oil truck. She tried to swerve at the last minute, but her rear wheel was caught under the truck which caused Sylvain to fall from her bike and slam her head on the ground, fracturing her skull. Had she been wearing a helmet, it might have saved her life. Leah Sylvain and her alone caused her own death.

    All charges against Joseph Cherry have been dismissed and he has been exonerated from causing the death of Sylvain. A lawsuit is pending against the Sylvain estate for damage sustained to the truck due to Miss Sylvain’s negligence.


  • ahwr

    flat-earth arguments

    Was there a time when streetsblog attracted members of the flat earth society?

  • Joe R.

    Not literally but the term is often used to mean those insisting their world view is right despite a clear set of facts to the contrary—kind of like what Jack Doe and his many aliases are doing.

  • Vooch

    no way

  • Vooch

    this is not my account – someone hacked it

  • Vooch

    there is also a fake Vooch posting above

  • Joe R.

    The above post was written by yet another of Jack Doe’s aliases. I flagged it, along with all the rest.

  • Vooch


  • Joe R.

    Not my account, either. This is Jack Doe posting under another screen name.