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Carnage

Truckers Keep Killing and Maiming With Illegal Oversized Rigs. NYPD Keeps Blaming Victims.

Video still of Thursday’s crash scene: WNBC

A truck driver illegally took his rig onto local streets and ran over a man on the Upper West Side yesterday. Rather than ticketing or arresting the trucker, NYPD pointed the finger at the victim.

[Update: NYPD ticketed this trucker for off-route and equipment violations, according to West Side Rag. Captain Timothy Malin, CO of the 20th Precinct, told the Rag the trucker would not be charged with a crime.]

The driver, whose name was concealed by NYPD, hit a 37-year-old man on Amsterdam Avenue at W. 81st Street at around 6:50 Thursday evening.

“I heard this big thump,“ a witness told WNBC. “We looked outside, the guy was laying out in the street. This guy was not moving.”

The victim was considered "likely to die." NYPD declined to reveal his name and had no updates on his condition as of this morning.

WNBC reported that the trucker “continued up one block” after the collision. The West Side Rag said the driver “told police that he only found out he had hit someone when a crowd gathered at the rear of his truck.”

There is no permit that allows the type of tractor-trailer combo involved in yesterday's crash to operate on city streets. The reason is that trucks with enclosed trailers that measure 53 feet or more are designed for interstate highways and can’t be operated safely where lots of people walk and bike.

But NYPD has little interest in keeping big rigs away from vulnerable flesh and blood bodies. Crashes are common. Enforcement is so anemic there's a Twitter account devoted to shaming NYPD for it.

When a trucker runs someone over, the default NYPD response is to victim-blame. Captain Timothy Malin, the commanding officer of the 20th Precinct, wasted no time yesterday assailing the injured man, telling the Rag he was “extremely intoxicated” and “wandered into the back wheels of a truck.”

Malin said the driver “was deemed to not be at fault.”

Though the trucker’s presence on the street was itself a violation of traffic rules, the Rag unquestioningly repeated witness claims that the driver “had the right of way."

Truckers in oversized rigs have killed no fewer than two people on the Upper West Side alone since November 2016, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog.

Both victims were cyclists. One of them, Abu Rifat, was also struck on Amsterdam Avenue, at W. 72nd Street. Police filed no charges and issued no summonses in either case. NYPD blamed Rifat for his own death.

The carnage caused by off-route truckers is preventable, but NYPD does not consider it a priority. The 20th Precinct issues a paltry seven or eight tickets to off-route truckers in an average month. To the north, the 24th Precinct had issued all of six such citations this year as of June.

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