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The Action Carting Driver Who Killed Neftaly Ramirez and Left the Scene Was Not Licensed to Drive the Truck

1:43 PM EST on January 31, 2018

Neftaly Ramirez, Eric Gonzalez, and Bill de Blasio

The Action Carting worker who last summer killed Neftaly Ramirez as he biked on a Greenpoint street and left the scene was summonsed for driving a garbage truck without the proper license, the Brooklyn Paper reports.

Action Carting drivers have killed five people on NYC streets since 2008. Yet it appears Mayor de Blasio won't let the company's horrendous safety record interfere with its city contracts, worth tens of millions of dollars.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez filed no criminal charges against the Action Carting employee who hit Ramirez, identified in a civil suit as 63-year-old Jose Nunez. The suit, brought by the victim's family, alleges shoddy investigative work on the part of NYPD and the DA.

Gonzalez spokesperson Oren Yaniv told Brooklyn Paper reporter Julianne Cuba that Nunez “did have a valid license but was driving out of class, which isn’t a prosecutable crime.” But driving without the proper license was one of several factors that potentially contributed to Ramirez's death.

To win a hit-and-run conviction in New York, prosecutors must prove a motorist knew or had reason to know a collision occurred. Gonzalez's office and NYPD claim they lack evidence to bring charges against Nunez for leaving the scene.

According to the lawsuit, however, NYPD's post-crash interview with Nunez -- to determine whether the driver knew he’d run over a grown man and his bike and, therefore, whether a felony leaving the scene charge was warranted -- was limited to a phone call. The Ramirez family's attorney, Michael Kremins, said the interview took place 17 hours after the crash, and police did not test Nunez for drugs or alcohol.

Kremins says video evidence showed a second Action Carting crew member riding on the back of the truck, on the same side where the wheels ran over Ramirez, one block before the collision at Franklin and Noble streets. In video taken "about a minute" after the collision, the crew member was inside the cab of the truck, according to Kremins. ("[A]uthorities said an eyewitness told them that the motorist’s colleague was in the vehicle at the time of the crash," Cuba reported.)

Available information suggests Ramirez was the victim of a right hook at a signalized intersection and therefore likely had the right of way. But NYPD and Gonzalez did not file charges under Section 19-190, a 2014 law that made it a misdemeanor for city drivers to harm cyclists and pedestrians who are following traffic rules. Yaniv did not answer when I asked him who had the right of way.

Gonzalez could present the evidence in court and let the justice system decide innocence or guilt. Instead he decided against seeking justice for Neftaly Ramirez and his loved ones.

Action Carting, meanwhile, continues to do business with the city. Streetsblog has asked the mayor's office if City Hall is reviewing the company's contracts since it was revealed that the driver who killed Ramirez was not licensed to drive the truck.

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