Cab Driver Pleads to Homicide for Killing 2 on Bronx Sidewalk While Off Epilepsy Meds

Emilio Garcia hit Tierre Clark, 5, and Kadeem Brown, 25, on the Grand Concourse.

Tierre Clark and Kadeem Brown
Tierre Clark and Kadeem Brown

A taxi driver has pled guilty to homicide for killing two people, including a child, on a Bronx sidewalk after he stopped taking his epilepsy medication.

Emilio Garcia hit 5-year-old Tierre Clark and 25-year-old Kadeem Brown with a green cab on the Grand Concourse at E. 170th Street on March 20, 2015.

Clark, then 44, injured two other people, including Tierre’s mother Sanequa Howe, who sustained bone fractures. Howe said she and Tierre were waiting for a bus when they were struck.

The Bronx district attorney’s office told Gothamist Garcia was aware of his epilepsy and had been in a collision that caused injuries to another driver before the Grand Concourse crash. Garcia “continued to drive his taxi for nearly three months without disclosing his condition,” Gothamist reported.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles relies on motorists to self-report medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive. The Taxi and Limousine Commission also failed to prevent Garcia from driving a cab, even after he was involved in a crash.

The case against Garcia was originally brought by former district attorney Robert Johnson, who was succeeded in 2016 by Darcel Clark.

Garcia was initially charged with manslaughter and homicide. The top charges were later upgraded to murder. He was also charged with assault.

Last week Garcia pled guilty to one count of assault, a class D felony, and two counts of homicide, according to court records. In New York, assault is a more serious charge than homicide, which is a class E felony — the state’s least severe felony category.

Class D felonies carry penalties ranging from probation to seven years in prison. Garcia is expected to be sentenced in December.

Crashes proven or believed to have been caused by epileptic drivers have killed several people in NYC in recent years. Last year Clark charged Howard Unger with manslaughter for killing a 10-year-old girl, her grandfather, and another man on a sidewalk after Unger allegedly neglected to take his medication. Unger’s trial was scheduled to begin this month.

Auvryn Scarlett was convicted of murder for fatally striking two Manhattan tourists with a garbage truck after he had a seizure behind the wheel. An appeals court reduced the conviction to manslaughter, but affirmed that a conviction on serious felony charges was warranted.

  • Joe R.

    I’m glad they’re not buying the “I forgot to take my meds” excuse to let him off completely off hook. However, it bothers me people with medical conditions which can affect their driving are even allowed to have licenses in the first place. People are notorious for forgetting to take medication. Even if the condition can be mitigated with meds, you still shouldn’t be allowed to drive. It shouldn’t be up to the DMV bureaucracy, either. Once you have a condition which may affect driving, your doctor has to enter it into the system. At that point your license is suspended for as long as the condition persists. And you should probably have to take a full driver’s test again before getting your license reinstated.

  • Vooch

    It’s much safer for people with seizures, alzheimer’s, and demetia to drive 4,000lbs cars than 50lbs bicycles.

    /s

  • AstoriaBlowin

    But if i have a seizure when riding my bike I might hurt myself!!! or no one…

  • JonDubno

    True, but people make decisions based more on their own safety than the safety of others.

    Interesting that homicide is not considered a super serious felony. But I doubt a murder charge would have ever been successful given there was no provable intent to kill.

  • Vooch

    “if the only way to avoid a head-on with a truck was to drive onto the sidewalk where there are pedestrians, which would you choose?”

    NYC drivers choose to kill the pedestrians every time

  • AMH

    “assault is a more serious charge than homicide”

    Are you f’ing kidding me?

  • AMH

    “if the only way to avoid a head-on with a truck was to drive onto the sidewalk where there are pedestrians”

    I don’t believe in hypotheticals. It’s like lying to your brain.

  • Joe R.

    Actually, there is no choice of driving onto a sidewalk or hitting a truck head-on simply because you’re not allowed to drive on the sidewalk, ever. You might have a hypothetical choice of hitting the truck versus a crossing pedestrian, but no driver should go on the sidewalk, even in an emergency. In fact, that should be enforced with bollards, so the choice is hitting a truck or ramming into bollards.

    In truth, a lot of these hypotheticals are situations a careful driver would never find themselves in to begin with. 100% of the people who drove on the sidewalk to avoid, say, rear-ending a stopped bus were going way over the speed limit. Had they been driving legally, they just wouldn’t have been in that situation to start with.

  • JonDubno

    Obviously it is illegal to drive on the sidewalk but the issue here isn’t a conscious decision to break the law but rather an instinctive reaction to a large fast vehicle coming right at you.

    The real-life outcome would probably be that that oncoming vehicle would just drive off and the driver who saved himself by swerving onto the sidewalk would struggle to prove he had no choice other than certain death.

    As a general rule, always hit the vehicle which is at fault. At least that way they stick around

  • JonDubno

    There are real life example. I ended up in a ditch once in a similar situation. The only victims was a few weeds ad a dented wheel arch.

  • Joe R.

    Choosing the sidewalk wouldn’t be an issue if we protected sidewalks with bollards. I guess hitting bollards would still be a better choice than hitting a truck head on. There really should never be an option for drivers to go somewhere with vulnerable users, like a bike lane or sidewalk, without hitting a hard object first.

  • JonDubno

    Well, we could build concrete barriers everywhere. Maybe that would make me feel safer although it would make me feel cut off and segregated.

    But my point was that a driver would never make a voluntary, conscious, rational decision to swerve into people or cyclists. But with a split-second to react to a 18-wheeler about to crush you, who knows what any of us would do to survive?

  • Chiino

    its crazy the Lies they say, he took his pills Daily im positive he did

  • chesler

    The least criminal kind of homicide is S 125.10, which is killing someone (other than a cop) with negligence, where negligence is failing to know the risk, without aggravation. That one is Class E.
    The next higher kind is 2nd degree vehicular manslaughter, for killing someone while driving drunk, which is Class D, or Class C for very drunk or a repeat offender, and aggravating factors can make it Class B.
    Second degree manslaughter requires recklessness (disregarding a risk one is aware of), rather than negligence.

    The article seems to be inaccurate because S 120.00 has 3rd degree assault as a Class A Misdemeanor. But Vehicular Assault is Class E for 2nd degree and Class D for 1st degree, and Class C for aggravated, and vehicular assault may have been one of the options for prosecuting.
    http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/penal_law_title_h.htm

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DA Robert Johnson: Manslaughter Charges for Cab Driver Who Killed Two

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District Attorney Robert Johnson has filed felony charges against the green cab driver who killed two people on a Bronx sidewalk. Johnson’s office told Gothamist Emilio Garcia was off his epilepsy medication when he hit 5-year-old Tierre Clark and Kadeem Brown, 25, at the Grand Concourse and E. 170th Street on March 20. Reports published after the crash […]