NYPD Blames Victim After Box Truck Driver Kills Cyclist Corbin Carr, 17, in Hell’s Kitchen

Given the department's track record of putting out misleading crash information, initial police accounts can't be trusted in the absence of video evidence or testimony from witnesses other than the driver.

10th Avenue at W. 55th Street. Photo: Google Maps
10th Avenue at W. 55th Street. Photo: Google Maps

The driver of a box truck killed a 17-year-old cyclist in Hell’s Kitchen last night. Though the Collision Investigation Squad was still working the case, NYPD told the press the crash was the cyclist’s fault — a claim that went unchallenged by print and TV outlets.

Police said Corbin Carr was riding north on 10th Avenue when he was hit by the driver, who was traveling west on W. 55th Street in an Isuzu truck, at approximately 12:10 a.m.

Carr, who lived on the Upper East Side, was pronounced dead at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The driver was a 29-year-old man. NYPD withheld his name, which is standard procedure when a motorist kills someone and is not charged or ticketed.

But NYPD has no prohibition on prematurely dispensing information that points to the culpability of crash victims who can’t speak for themselves. Before the sun came up, media outlets were repeating the NYPD narrative that Carr ran a red light. The Daily News, AM New York, DNAinfo, and WNBC all led their coverage by citing the victim’s purported recklessness as the proximate cause of his own death.

NYPD’s default response to a cyclist death is to blame the victim, and the press generally parrots the claim without question.
NYPD’s default response to a cyclist death is to blame the victim, and the press generally parrots the claim without question.

We asked DCPI, the NYPD’s public information office, where the claim that Carr ran a red light originated. The spokesperson said DCPI did not know if video evidence or witness statements existed to support the department’s preliminary report, and that such information would not be known until CIS concluded its investigation.

While it’s certainly possible the driver had the right of way, NYPD has a long track record of portraying deceased victims as negligent before the facts are known.

Last year, police initially said Lauren Davis was biking against traffic on Classon Avenue when she was struck and killed — which was later proven false.

Earlier this month, NYPD said Dan Hanegby “swerved” on his bicycle into the path of a bus approaching from behind. Video evidence later showed that Hanegby did not behave unpredictably.

Just yesterday, NYPD announced that the driver who fatally struck Kelly Hurley in the First Avenue bike lane in April was arrested and charged for violating her right of way. Police initially said Hurley was responsible for the collision.

Hours later, NYPD blamed another cyclist victim. Despite the department’s clear credibility problem when it comes to traffic crashes, the press repeated that account uncritically. Given the history of police error in initial crash accounts, standards of evidence should be higher before publishing stories that immediately absolve the person behind the wheel.


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