Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

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

2:19 PM EDT on July 20, 2018

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.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Council Votes to Repeal Decade-Old Law, Expedite Bike Lane Installation

The City Council repealed a notorious. out-dated law that imposed lengthy delays on the city before it could break ground on new bike lanes.

December 7, 2023

Dynamic! MTA Could Hike Congestion Pricing Toll 25% on Gridlock Alert Days

The MTA said it had that power, and modeled it in its environmental assessment (see footnote 2 below), but no one ever reported it, until Wednesday.

December 6, 2023

Judge Orders Trial for Hit-and-Run Driver Who Turned Down ‘Reasonable’ Sentencing Offer

Judge Brendan Lantry turns down driver's request for mere probation for killing a delivery worker in 2022. The trial will start in January.

December 6, 2023

Wednesday’s Headlines: Another Big Day at City Hall Edition

Today is going to be another busy day for the livable streets crowd. So get ready with today's headlines.

December 6, 2023

Reporter’s Notebook: Will Eric Adams Ever Publicly Embrace Congestion Pricing?

The governor, the head of the MTA and the city's leading transit thinkers all celebrated congestion pricing on Tuesday as an historic moment while Mayor Adams spent Tuesday failing to live up to it.

December 6, 2023
See all posts