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Curb Jumping

Curb Jumper’s License Revoked Six Months for Killing Mallory Weisbrod

Dimas Debrito, the curb-jumping driver who killed 24-year-old Mallory Weisbrod and injured two others last August, pled guilty on Thursday to two misdemeanors for reckless endangerment and failure to exercise due care leading to serious physical injury. He will also agree to a six-month license suspension. In another case, a driver will receive six months jail time after pleading to a fatal February hit-and-run in Richmond Hill, Queens.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance
Cyrus Vance Jr.

Debrito, 64, was driving southbound on Second Avenue at more than twice the 25 mph speed limit when he veered his silver Mercedes through the intersection with 49th Street and over the southwest curb at 4:24 p.m. on August 10, 2015. He struck Weisbrod, pinning her body against a light pole, according to court documents provided by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Weisbrod succumbed to her injuries five days later.

After an investigation by NYPD's Collision Investigation Squad, including video evidence, Vance brought charges against Debrito in October, according to court documents. In addition to the two charges included in the plea bargain, Vance had also been charging Debrito with a third misdemeanor, for reckless driving. A Vance spokesperson declined to comment when asked why this third charge was not included in the final plea deal.

At his sentencing on September 23, Debrito will also receive 30 days of community service, mandatory enrollment in an "aggressive driving program," and a $1,000 fine, according to Vance's office.

Weisbrod was one of fourteen pedestrians killed by curb-jumping drivers in 2015, according to data compiled by Streetsblog. Since her death, NYC DOT has moved forward a plan to extend the Second Avenue protected bike lane,  including the intersection where Weisbrod was killed. Protected bike lanes lead to a 22 percent reduction in pedestrian injuries in the three years after they are installed, according to DOT.

In a separate case, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced on August 5 that Aftab Safdar, 28, had pled guilty to felony charges for fleeing the scene after striking and killing 48-year-old Besik Shengelia. Safdar will be sentenced on August 30 to six months in jail and five years' probation.

Safdar struck Shengelia on February 28 at a 4:40 a.m., while the victim was standing next to a parked SUV on 111th Street between 107th and 109th avenues in Richmond Hill. Safdar then fled the scene in his 2008 Nissan Sentra, according to a press release from Brown's office [PDF]. An investigation by NYPD's Collision Investigation Squad revealed evidence, including video, that led to Safdar's identification.

In the past, Brown has allowed drivers to plead to less severe misdemeanor charges in deadly hit-and-run cases, instead of pursuing felony charges. In one case, he filed no charges at all after a driver left the scene of a fatal crash.

Unlike in these past cases prosecuted by Brown, Safdar pled to felony charges. Asked why more serious felony charges, such as vehicular manslaughter, were not pursued against Safdar, a spokesperson for Brown said that "based on the evidence," it did not meet the criteria for such charges.

"From the investigation and facts of the case, this was the appropriate charge," she said.

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