NYPD: No Charges for Driver Who Killed 14-Year-Old Cyclist Edwin Ajacalon in Brooklyn

Video still via WCBS
Video still via WCBS

In Brooklyn over the weekend, a driver killed a child on a bike who worked delivery jobs to help support his family. NYPD filed no charges.

Edwin Ajacalon
Edwin Ajacalon

Edwin Ajacalon, 14, migrated to the U.S. alone to send money home to Guatemala. He was riding a bike with an electric battery across 23rd Street at around 5:45 p.m. when he was struck by a 19-year-old male driving a 2017 BMW sedan southbound on Fifth Avenue.

Video posted by the Daily News and WCBS shows the driver enter the intersection at high speed the moment before he struck Ajacalon.

“The driver, coming up [Fifth] Avenue, he went through the light,” witness Rafael Eustaquio told the Post. “He drove that way, and then he hit him in the back. The kid, he fly, when he came down on the windshield and rolled off the car.”

“The boy ended up about halfway across the block,” another witness told WCBS.

Media reports said Ajacalon’s shoes and hat were knocked off upon impact. He died from injuries to his head and body.

The NYPD public information office told Streetsblog the driver had a green light but provided no information about his speed.

The Daily News reported that the driver attempted to flee the scene but was blocked by an off-duty cop in another vehicle.

NYPD withheld the driver’s identity, which is typical when a motorist is not summonsed or charged after killing someone. The investigation remains open, police said.

Motorists have now killed at least 20 people riding bikes in New York City this year, including the three victims of the West Side Greenway attack in October, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog. That surpasses the 18 cyclist fatalities reported by City Hall in all of 2016.

The 72nd Precinct, where Edwin Ajacalon was killed, had ticketed 404 speeding drivers this year — fewer than two per day — as of August, the latest month for which NYPD has published summons data.

Under the command of Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez, the 72nd Precinct is also enthusiastically pursuing Mayor de Blasio’s e-bike crackdown, seizing vehicles like the one Ajacalon was riding despite no evidence that they pose a public safety threat.

Tonight at 6:30 p.m., Borough President Eric Adams, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, and traffic safety advocates will join members of Ajacalon’s family at a vigil at the crash site in his memory.

  • reasonableexplanation

    The Daily news article states:
    “Cops on Sunday said it was likely the 19-year-old driver of the BMW would face charges.”


    “The driver and his front passenger were at the scene when police arrived, but the three people who had been riding in back had sprinted off and were long gone.”

    So aren’t the charges pending or did I miss something? As for the second bit, the whole group in the BMW sounds shady.

  • guest

    “three victims of the West Side Greenway attack in October” – weren’t all eight of the dead riding bikes at the time?

    This story just makes me scream inside. I wish that, instead of trying to humanize white supremacists, NYTimes would run a story about the lives of young migrant low-income workers like Edwin. He was so, so young. And so very vulnerable. Alone away from his family, putting his life at risk every day to send a little something to help his loved ones. And this city treated him like trash.

  • Brad Aaron

    Anonymous cop sources say a lot of things. In my experience there is no such thing as “charges pending.” Charges are either filed or they aren’t.

    In this case, no charges were filed as of this afternoon.

  • Zero Vision

    Silence from de Blasio on the death of a child who was working to support his family. Shame on the mayor.

  • Brad Aaron

    As far as we know three of the greenway victims were riding bikes, though some of the others may have been walking bikes when they were struck.

  • JarekFA

    Less than 30 hours after a child on an e-bike was killed by a speeding driver in their district, the 72nd precinct is still crowing about their commitment to safety by seizing e-bikes


  • JarekFA

    I try to keep my tweeting and commenting anonymous but I’ll admit this much: I live less than 100 feet from the intersection of 23rd street and 5th avenue and I bike commute to Manhattan from there and I pass through the very intersection where Edwin had his life taken. I was at home with my family, skyping with my mom so she could her grandson, at the very moment. I didn’t hear the collision. I did hear the ambulances but didn’t think anything of it until I saw the lights still there later in the evening and saw the reports on twitter.

    I didn’t know Edwin at all. But I’m shook up by this. To think, a child, erased from this earth, in a flash. Someone’s son . . . and in this case, an immigrant son, working hard to support his family back in Guatemala. Just talk about the responsibility this child was undertaking. It’s infuriating. This child didn’t need to die. I went by the vigil last night and broke down. I do so much to make sure my child is protected. It’s all I care about. And to think someone else’s child is gone just like that. And our NYPD focuses on confiscating this child’s actual type of bicycle for being too dangerous! The driver was speeding! The poor parents. And now I’m thinking about my safety. I’m lit up like a god damned Christmas tree at night. The 4th ave bike lane can’t come soon enough.

  • Mister Sterling

    There is no doubt that the driver was speeding. We all know what 25MPH looks like.

  • bradwagon

    He didn’t stay on scene though… attempted to flee and was blocked by off duty cop.

  • Barry Grant

    Speeding. Blowing a red light (and yes I will believe a single eyewitness over 10,000 lying incompetent lazy NYPD cops). Kills a child. Attempts to flee. NYPD: no charges. As if we needed anything else to remind us of how utterly impotent and incompetent they are.

  • The police are neither impotent nor incompetent. They know exactly what they are doing; and they are extremely effective at it.

    They are reinforcing the prevailing orthodoxy, an ideology which includes disregard for bicyclists’ interests and broad latitude for drivers.

  • Leonard Erdman

    this just in from the news desk, DeBlasio fails IQ test.

  • KeNYC2030

    I’d go even further: the cops protect the interests of the ruling class, which drives or is driven and which has its food served to them by poor immigrant workers.

  • Mister Sterling

    Jeebuz. That detail should trigger any DA to keep the investigation alive.

  • Mister Sterling

    If that is true, then that the hell, Brooklyn DA?


Edwin Ajacalon's uncle, Eduardo Vicente, broke down before he could speak at last night's vigil. Photo: Dave Colon

Brooklyn Electeds Pay Tribute to Edwin Ajacalon and Call on Albany to Prevent Deadly Speeding

At a vigil last night, elected officials and street safety advocates paid tribute to Edwin Ajacalon, the 14-year-old from Guatemala who was killed by a teenage driver in Brooklyn Saturday night. Calling Ajacalon an "all-American boy" and "a vital thread in the beautiful tapestry that is New York City," they pressed for street safety improvements and a culture change among drivers after yet another death of a cyclist, the 20th in 2017.