NYPD: No Charges for UPS Driver Who Killed Woman Walking With the Right of Way

NYPD's account of the crash indicates 27-year-old Sumiah Ali was crossing the street lawfully when she was fatally struck by a UPS driver in Fort Greene.

Sumiah Ali was struck at DeKalb Avenue and Ashland Place by a UPS worker making the same right turn as the drivers at right in this Google Maps photo.
Sumiah Ali was struck at DeKalb Avenue and Ashland Place by a UPS worker making the same right turn as the drivers at right in this Google Maps photo.

On Friday a UPS driver killed 27-year-old Sumiah Ali as she crossed the street in Fort Greene. Police filed no charges, though NYPD’s account of the crash indicates Ali likely had the right of way.

Ali was crossing Ashland Place at around 6:30 p.m. when the UPS employee hit her with a truck while turning right onto Ashland from DeKalb Avenue, outside Brooklyn Hospital Center, according to NYPD. Ali sustained body trauma and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The NYPD public information office shielded the driver’s name — typical when police and the district attorney decline to charge or ticket a driver who kills someone — and told Streetsblog the victim’s identity was being withheld pending family notification. The Brooklyn Paper identified Ali as the victim.

“Cops said a preliminary investigation revealed Ali entered the crosswalk when the ‘Do not walk’ signal was flashing, but investigators are still looking into the deadly collision,” the Brooklyn Paper reported.

Until recently, crossing the street during the flashing pedestrian signal phase was not protected under New York City law. But in 2016, two years after the de Blasio administration made it a misdemeanor for motorists to harm people walking with the right of way, the city expanded the right of way to protect people in crosswalks at any time during the flashing phase.

DeKalb at Ashland has traffic signals that direct pedestrians and turning motorists into crosswalks at the same time. Though NYPD’s focus on Ali’s behavior smacks of victim-blaming, if the crash happened the way department sources said it did, it’s probable she had the right of way.

The Brooklyn Paper said the driver, identified only as a 49-year-old man, was not ticketed or charged at the scene. The NYPD public information office told Streetsblog it had no details on who had the right of way and said the investigation was “ongoing.”

This fatal crash occurred in the 88th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Laurie Cumbo.

  • van_vlissingen

    There’s been an update to the BP article: https://twitter.com/julcuba/status/966011367651250176
    FYI now updated w/ comment from NYPD: “What’s your point? I didn’t say anything about legislation,” said Sergeant Jones. “I didn’t say he wasn’t going to be arrested. The investigation is still continuing.”

  • Ken Dodd

    “Preliminary investigation” means they asked the driver what happened and went with that. You can bet your ass they haven’t obtained any camera footage or anything. Even if there was a whacking great camera nearby pointed directly at the intersection, the NYPD would not trouble themselves to look into it. “The investigation is still continuing” generally means “we’ve decided this driver will never face any consequences, but we’ll give the impression that he might just to placate those annoying citizens who actually think we should be doing our jobs and stuff.”

    The NYPD is one of the most pointless, useless, incompetent and unprofessional police departments in the Western hemisphere. This is why I fully support all of the efforts by citizens to crack down on their placard abuse – if we can’t make them do their jobs and protect us, then at least we can make their lives as difficult as possible.

  • Anonymous

    Its because the victim is an Arab-Muslim.
    If it was a white or a person of color this incident would’ve been a whole lot different.

  • Barry Grant

    No it wouldn’t. Stop trying to hijack stories with completely irrelevant race baiting nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it would. I’ve known many accidents with arab-Muslims involved. And they haven’t till this day reached the news papers or the news. And even the suspect was let free. She was just buried yesterday and the suspect was not charged nor arrested. But if it was another person, the suspect would’ve been in jail waiting for his/her sentence or even the world would’ve known about it. The footages that the police obtained would’ve been leaked. But guess what non of that happened. Because what, she’s a Arab-Muslim. Thank you

  • Ken Dodd

    Once again, the outcome of this “investigation” has nothing to do with the race of the victim. Nothing. In case you hadn’t noticed, traffic fatality injustices like this happen virtually every week in the city, and they happen to people of all creeds and colors. Also, accidents happen to people who aren’t Arab-Muslim which don’t make the news. Stop exploiting this person’s death as a platform on which to promote a cause which is completely irrelevant in this context.

  • Andrew

    Streetsblog has documented numerous similar incidents involving victims of a wide variety of races, ethnicities, religions, etc.

  • I appreciate this sentiment; and it is true that Arab and Muslim people are systematically dehumanised — not only by white people but even by people belonging to other oppressed communities. So I do not dismiss your comments as “race-baiting”, a word which indicates that the user fundamentally fails to grasp the pervasive role that race plays in this society.

    However, I cannot agree that the outcome here would have been different if the victim had been something other than Arab or Muslim. We have seen any number of instances in which white, black, Latin, and Asian people have been killed by incompetent and/or sociopathic drivers.

    While racial privilege is a very real thing (and anyone who denies this is an apologist for many historic evils), the operative privilege here is that of drivers versus other road users.

  • neroden

    Sue the NYPD for criminal conspiracy-after-the-fact. They are consipiring with the killer in order to obstruct justice.

  • neroden

    NYPD needs to be shut down. They are criminals.


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