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.

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