NYPD: No Charges for Driver Who Killed 4-Year-Old Girl on Brooklyn Sidewalk and Left Scene

With seven deaths, motorists have killed more children age 14 or under in the first six months of 2018 than in any year since 2014, when NYC launched the Vision Zero program.

Video still: News 12
Video still: News 12

NYPD declined to file charges against a motorist who killed a 4-year-old girl on a Brooklyn sidewalk yesterday and left the scene.

Motorists have killed seven children age 14 or under in the first six months of this year, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog. The last time city drivers killed seven or more children in a single year was 2014 — the first year of the Vision Zero program — when eight kids were fatally struck while walking or biking.

Luz Gonzalez and her mother, 39-year-old Reyna Candia, were walking by a laundromat at 82 Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick at around 4:30 p.m. when a driver exiting a parking spot ran the child over with a 2018 Nissan Rogue SUV.

Video published by WNBC and News 12 shows Luz standing on the sidewalk before the collision, behind vehicles parked perpendicular to the building. The video shows the motorist backing up out of the spot, then pulling forward, remaining on the sidewalk.

“She told me, ‘Mommy I lost my shoe,’” Candia told the Daily News. “She went back and grabbed the shoe, and I sat down with her to put [it] on, on the sidewalk.”

The driver, identified only as a 38-year-old woman, left Luz and her injured mother on the pavement.

“I saw a car leaving, and I saw the mom moving toward the child,” a witness told the News. “When I saw the mom, the blood on the baby was coming nonstop.”

Luz sustained trauma to her chest and died at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where Candia was hospitalized in stable condition.

The News initially reported that the driver was pulled over “a few blocks away” and taken into custody. But by this morning NYPD was making excuses for her, telling the press she “was unaware she’d run over two people.”

According to Autotrader, all 2018 Nissan Rogues are at least equipped with a rearview camera, and more expensive models have cameras and other features that enable drivers to see and detect objects all around the vehicle.

A motorist proceeding with care does not hit two people on a sidewalk and drive away oblivious to the collision. It should be up to the courts to determine whether this driver was criminally culpable for killing Luz and injuring her mom, but true to form, NYPD has decided on its own that she should not be held accountable.

In keeping with his record of disinterest in pursuing justice for hit-and-run victims, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is MIA.

“She had to know,” said Candia. “I want her to pay, the person who did this, she has to pay.”

Luz Gonzalez was killed in the 83rd Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Rafael Espinal.

  • Tooscrapps

    How are these even legal parking spots? They are designed so that you have to literally drive on the sidewalk to access them.

  • FlappyArms

    They’re not. I was going to file a complaint with the DOB about this, but someone beat me to it: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/OverviewForComplaintServlet?vlcompdetlkey=0002274572

    Looks like they also filed a couple other complaints.

  • neroden

    The NYPD members involved in this atrocity are now guilty as accessories-after-the-fact to this manslaughter.

    They *can* be arrested and charged. That is common law. The problem is finding someone to prosecute them, given that the DA is also a co-conspirator. Private prosecutions still exist in NY, but you have to find a judge who realized that.

  • William Lawson

    I once talked to the French parents of a girl who was killed by a speeding, non-yielding dump truck on the Upper East Side. Apparently losing their daughter wasn’t enough – the NYPD also had to inflict the pain upon them of telling them that the driver (unlicensed) wouldn’t face a single charge related to her death, despite the fact that multiple witnesses described him driving like a “bat out of hell” and despite the fact that her injuries were consistent with a dangerous rate of speed (she was cut in two) and despite the fact that she had the light and he didn’t yield. Cops didn’t even seek out any camera footage from nearby establishments. They couldn’t understand the concept of a police department point blank refusing to do their jobs in relation to a homicide and I found myself apologizing to them on behalf of the city. At the time I thought, wouldn’t it be great if they (and other grieving relatives) could launch a huge action against the city on the basis that point blank refusing them a chance of justice is a malicious act calculated to cause them maximum emotional distress.

  • Parent

    When it happened on 9th Street in Park Slope by the mayor’s gym, every politician in town – including Eric Gonzalez – vowed to do something. Here? Crickets. Shame on every elected official who doesn’t have the courage to tell the NYPD to change their outrageous indifference to the deaths of CHILDREN. Shame on them all.

  • ohnonononono

    Uh but how was this laundromat able to operate in this manner for any amount of time at all? This is pretty insane.

  • ohnonononono

    Google Street View shows this absurd makeshift “parking lot” existing since at least 2007. How was this laundromat able to operate with a “parking lot” that’s only able to be accessed by driving across the sidewalk in this manner for any amount of time at all? Who okayed that? They are responsible for this girl.

    Also gotta love that the local assemblywoman is suggesting… they put signs up warning people about backing cars?!

    Then the NBC video features a guy complaining about “these kids playing late at night” — this girl was killed at 4pm, on the sidewalk with her mom!

  • Tooscrapps

    To be fair, this is what your locsllocal precinct’s “parking lot” look like.

  • Tooscrapps

    I hope this girls family owns this parcel in due time.

  • Joe R.

    There are some businesses near me with the same “system”:

    https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7273961,-73.8130373,3a,75y,34.88h,82.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3x1PUPZR_EbfKNglhwV0Bw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Notice the curb cuts are only in a few places, not all along the block like they should be. The reason of course is so people can park at the curb also! So to access some of the spots you have to drive on the sidewalk. I don’t see how this could be legal. I guess in NYC it’s defacto legal to drive on the sidewalk but try riding a bike on one and you risk a heavy fine.

  • Joe R.

    The more I think about it the more I feel frontier justice is justified. When the law ignores your legitimate grievances you have the right to take justice (and vengeance) into your own hands. Had this happened to one of my family members it’s a given at least the driver would never be seen again. And the police failing to prosecute what is by all evidence a crime would probably eventually “disappear” as well. No, I wouldn’t personally do those deeds, but I have relatives who gladly would.

  • Joe R.

    The problem here is everyone in the chain of justice sees things only from a windshield perspective. In their minds, all these incidents are “accidents” where people just got in the way of the car. Until you can change that fundamental flaw in their thinking the situation is hopeless. As I said above, I strongly feel it might just be time for people to take matters into their own hands. Even better, off the guilty drivers by running them over with a car so as to avoid any possibility of prosecution.

  • BruceWillisThrowsACar@You

    Not only that. According to their latest viewable Certificate of Occupancy in both section D and the ‘Permissible Use and Occupancy’ chart makes absolutely NO MENTION of any parking spaces or any open space for accessory parking.

    That is also a complaint. It is in-fact illegal 100% and the owners should face insane violations that lead to criminal prosecution if the driver won’t be. I wouldn’t even object to a full vacate order by DOB since it is a commercial building so they are punished where it hurts a business.

  • Isaac B

    Sadly, there will be excuses made for the driver and arguments made blaming the girl and her mother. I already know the excuses in my head, but don’t want to empower the other side. The rest of the world is really hostile to people who walk or bike.

    I spend part of my week in southern NJ. My local police department has been posting on Facebook about the rights and responsibilities of people who walk or bike. Besides the PD’s obfuscation of certain rights that they find inconvenient to note and asking people who walk to forego some of their rights, the comments to these posts are nearly unanimously hostile against anyone but motorists.

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1859048730822970&id=564350036959519

  • Isaac B

    That was the “Crown Heights Riot” of 1991. The mob decided to take their vengeance out on someone who vaguely resembled the driver. It didn’t end well.

    No.

  • Joe R.

    I’m not for mob rule. I’m for families or relatives quietly getting their justice. The only caveat is make 100% sure you have the right person before doing anything. I’m also 100% for the death penalty (not just for murder, but for rape, child molestation, theft of over few million dollars, abuse of power when in a public position, etc.). However, I’m 100% against using the death penalty if there’s even the slightest chance you have the wrong person as it’s irreversible.

  • William Lawson

    Many of these business owners are all cozied up to their local pols and have family/friend connections in the city. You can walk all over Queens and see businesses operating in an illegal and/or dangerous manner like this, and have done for years. Just look at all the car dealerships who are allowed to use public sidewalks as sales lots, in full view of the NYPD and the city in general. There’s no way they’d be able to get away with that if they weren’t part of the “brotherhood” of the intimately connected. Money changes hands. Favors are done. Orders are given out to “lay off” certain businesses.

    The depth of the corruption in this city is astonishing. Doesn’t matter if an agency is directly tasked with saving lives – you’ll find bribery and backhanders and people not doing their jobs. Elevator inspectors, crane inspectors, asbestos inspectors – all exposed as corrupt in recent years. So the idea that the city is going to enforce something like illegal parking lots is just laughable.

  • AnoNYC

    Auto makers should be required to also implement reverse collision avoidance in 2022 (I believe that’s the year it’s required for forward movement). Would help prevent these tragedies.

  • AnoNYC
  • AnoNYC

    How do you file a complaint about this issue?

  • AnoNYC

    https://goo.gl/maps/ioC8KHDqHnC2

    https://goo.gl/maps/iptnwQ2XV372

    Just filed complaints via 311 for both these addresses. Illegal curb cut. Impossible to park without driving on the sidewalk.

    I used this website, hope it is the correct one to reach the NYCDOB:

    https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/1473/curb-complaint

  • AnoNYC

    Anyone know if this is legal? You can drive straight into the spaces, but right through a bus stop.

    https://goo.gl/maps/ypRS6F6yNYp

  • Joe R.

    And incidentally the number of small children killed by their parents backing out large vehicles like SUVs is at least in the hundreds annually, perhaps low thousands. It’s a huge problem which reverse collision avoidance would prevent.

  • Would the DA, police and public officials be more accountable about charging the driver if Luz Gonzalez were white and affluent? Because let’s face it, that’s the contrast between this and what happened in March on 9th Street in Park Slope.

  • I’ve driven a Rogue several times. The camera works fine. The driver is the issue the NYPD and DA don’t want to see.

  • AnoNYC

    These collision avoidance systems have the potential to prevent poor choices made by the driver.

  • Also, it’s summer — the time of year when kids can freely play late at night.

  • Ben

    it has been proven over and over that if you tell NYPD “oh i didn’t see them” that you can get off scot-free. it is amazing to me.

  • MatthewEH

    Horrifying.

    One set of the videos (the News 4, I think) seems to suggest the car was already being driven forward again rather than reversing by the time the driver hit anyone. Not gonna rewatch either set of videos, though. 🙁

    If I saw something like this as a pedestrian, especially if I was traveling with a kid, I’d probably think to myself “whoa, I’d better turn around and walk on a different block” or something like that. Or maybe walked between the laundromat and the angle-parking. But having to exercise that level of caution just walking along the sidewalk is INSANE, and the onus to do so should not be on me.

    Stop de Kindermoord!!!

  • Scroller

    It can prevent poor choices by the driver…like buying an SUV when you live in a dense urban area?

  • MWaring

    someone needs to get some rebar spikes and a sledge and drive it into the asphalt in the middle of the night to close this BS illegal “parking lot”. boom! instant mini-bollards.

    you can get 24″ spikes and drive them 1/2 way in.

  • AnoNYC

    It’s really too bad people are buying all these crossover SUVs nowadays. You can buy a hatchback for less with comparable square footage (sometimes even more). These crossovers don’t have that much more ground clearance and are not very off road worthy either.

  • AMH

    Is there such a thing as 100% certainty?

  • Joe R.

    There are a lot of crimes where there’s no doubt you have the right person. For example, with cameras everywhere you might have video. You also have DNA testing. It’s only when you get into “eyewitness” identification and circumstantial evidence that you may have reasonable doubts. In the case of vehicular homicides, unless it’s a hit-and-run you have no doubt who the driver is.

  • phoenix songbird

    File a claim with the driver’s insurance carrier. Even if she is not charged by the police, the carrier can still pay out under bodily injury liability and personal injury protection.

  • phoenix songbird

    Guess what? I work for an auto insurance carrier and it doesn’t work with us! If we have proof (footage, witnesses, etc,) that our driver hit someone or something, we pay out. The cops don’t decide if your insurance company should pay out on a claim: the insurance company does. I hear every day, “I didn’t get a ticket for running that stop sign, why should I be at fault?” I don’t make the cops give out traffic tickets and the cops don’t tell me how to pay out on my claims.

  • phoenix songbird

    No: I am a liability adjuster for an auto insurance company in NY state…the DRIVER is always responsible for operating their vehicle safely. I hear every day, “Well yes I had the stop sign and your driver didn’t but it’s not my fault because the intersection has bad visibility” or “the parking lot was designed weird”. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the driver. This woman was probably only looking in her camera (if that) and didn’t bother to check her surroundings before backing up. I hear the same excuses when it is raining or snowing “It’s not my fault I rear ended that person, the weather was bad.” Well I am sorry but God, or mother nature, etc. was not driving your car: you were. The problem is people don’t want to take any personal responsibility for their own actions!

  • Youpeoplearefuckingretards

    This is unsubstantiated nonsense. Unless you have proof that race and financial status had anything to do with the decision not to charge, then dont make bullshit up. If IF was a fifth, we’d all be drunk. gtfoh

  • Youpeoplearefuckingretards

    This is about as disturbing and disgusting as it gets. You run over two people who are standing on a sidewalk, leave the scene and the dip shit police department decide that nothing wrong has occurred lmao Thats why Americans need to grow up and fend for themselves, depending on the government to baby sit for you is a worthless scam

  • Youpeoplearefuckingretards

    We need to stop using phrases like “huge problem” theres 3, 400 million people in this country, some hundred or “low thousands” dying every year isnt a problem, its a margin of error, get over it

  • Youpeoplearefuckingretards

    It cant prevent dip shit retards from being shit drivers who dont belong out there on the street operating a vehicle. thats what cameras and laws cant prevent, they cant prevent inept idiots

  • Youpeoplearefuckingretards

    You gotta be the dumbest person on earth. Blame the person operating a vehicle, millions of people drive all kinds of cars, of verious shapes and sizes and they dont manage to run over people on a sidewalk

  • Youpeoplearefuckingretards

    what excuse does someone have for running over people standing on a sidewalk? please entertain us all with your muttonhead logic lmao the driver is a fucking retard, end of story

  • Youpeoplearefuckingretards

    the pedestrian always has the right of way. some people should never be issued drivers licenses, its that simple, we live in a society where everyone is entitled, but not everyone is qualified to be out there driving around, like whoever this fucking nitwit piece of shit who ran these people over. I know when ive hit a bump in the rode and she couldnt tell if she ran over people? obviously that person is suffering from something effecting her cognizant s

  • phoenix songbird

    Yes, the pedestrian always has right of way which is why this family should file a claim with the driver’s insurance carrier. The cop doesn’t have to convict the driver for the insurance carrier to pay out. We settle claims, not police officers. And trust me, that driver having at fault accident for hitting a little girl on her record is going to be screwed over a lot in the future (premiums will go up, she may have to enter in the assigned risk pool, etc) than a ticket and community service from traffic court.

  • Youpeoplearefuckingretards

    Who is even arguing that they shouldnt file a claim or that cops have anything to do with filing claims? insurance claims aside, this person needs to be locked up, you driver over a sidewalk, you run people over, you kill someone, and you flee the scene of the accident, not sure how this isnt a crime.. crazy

  • Jaimy

    Why in the world ya discussing this matter when clearly seen on VEDIO and on social media as well as the news and no one has done anything for luz i don’t care if the mather got a threat by the cop or the driver saying that they will call what is called icp ccp fuck it i dont care my point is wether u f african american white spanish or all the color of the rainbows no one deserves this no onOWe i can care less if ur husband brother or whomever is a cop and think that just because they have a badge that ur going to be protected nOW with that said a badge don’t mean shit to me but a title that’s nothing if u did wrong witch u did lady clearly u did bcuz in camera u can see that fucking car move twice like if ur car is that heavy u couldn’t feel the bumps wtf excuses excuses STOP THE SHIT STOP TWISTING THE LAWS TO DEFEND SOMEONE WHO DID WRONG NO CHILD SHOULD LOOSE THERE LIFE OVER AN IGNORANT WOMAN SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE DID AND DROVE OFF AND GUARANTEE THAT SHE CALLED SOMEONE TOO WHEN SHE DROVE OFF LIKE “SHIT I DID SOMETHING WRONG HELP”. THIS IS INSANE ALSO TO ADD THE MOM WHO GOT HURT GET THAT WITCH GO TO THE INSURANCE. COMPANY AND FIGHT IT ALL THE WAY JUSTICE JUSTICE JUSTICE FOE LITTLE LUZ.

  • troy Bigbass

    This is America! It’s disgusting and I hope she sues the whole damn city and the cops and the disgusting piece of ? that killed her little girl

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