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Bus Driver Who Killed Dan Hanegby Gets 30 Days — The Max

3:52 PM EDT on October 25, 2018

A video still shows the moment when bus driver Dave Lewis passed too closely to cyclist Dan Hanegby, who had the right of way, killing him. DA candidate Liz Crotty argues that the city’s “Right of Way” Law shouldn’t criminalize such crashes, which she calls “accidents.”

A Manhattan judge delivered what little justice she could on Thursday, sending a bus driver who killed Citi Bike rider Dan Hanegby to jail for 30 days.

The sentence was the maximum interment that Judge Heidi Cesare could have handed down to driver Dave Lewis on his conviction earlier this month for violating Hanegby’s right of way and for failing to exercise due care on June 12, 2017, when he hit Hanegby as he rushed to pass him on W. 26th St. Lewis will serve the 30-day sentence for the first count and the 15-day sentence on the second count concurrently.

Dan Hanegby was killed by bus driver Dave Lewis last year.
Dan Hanegby was killed by bus driver Dave Lewis last year.
Dan Hanegby was killed by bus driver Dave Lewis last year.

Activists have complained that 30 days is insufficient for killing Hanegby, but Lewis’s lawyer Jeremy Saland pointed out at the sentencing that the driver was not charged with a more serious crime such as reckless endangerment or criminally negligent homicide, leaving the judge little choice.

Hanegby’s widow riveted the small courtroom with a victim-impact statement that described how her life “has been destroyed by the reckless decision” of the driver.

“My children will never see the look of love from their father,” she said, stopping frequently to wipe away tears. "It is impossible to find the words to describe here today how my heart breaks when my children ask why their father cannot jump from the sky and come and hug them. It is impossible to find the right words to describe how it feels when I advise them that he is in their hearts and they can speak to him and they say, 'But mommy, we can't hear him.'

Bus driver Dave Lewis was led out in handcuffs to begin serving his 30-day sentence. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Bus driver Dave Lewis was led out in handcuffs to begin serving his 30-day sentence. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Bus driver Dave Lewis was led out in handcuffs to begin serving his 30-day sentence. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

“No sentence will bring back their father, but as a mother and a widow, it is imperative for me to fight for some justice for Dan,” she added.

[The widow's full victim impact statement is here.]

For his part, Lewis asked the judge to spare him a jail sentence so he could provide for his family.

“Your honor, I’m sorry,” he said through tears. “I will never be able to forgive myself for my involvement in an accident that took a man’s life.”

But this was no mere accident. During testimony, Lewis admitted he saw Hanegby on the roadway in front of him, honked his horn at the cyclist and continued to drive into a narrowed portion of the roadway instead of simply slowing down. The side of his bus hit Hanegby’s handlebars, sending the seasoned cyclist to the roadway, where Lewis’s 60,000-pound Coach USA bus drove over him.

District attorney Cy Vance declined to charge Lewis with a higher charge, though legal experts have said that Lewis’s decision to honk his horn showed he was aware of the danger, but did nothing to avoid it — the definition of reckless endangerment.

A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio suggested the mayor did not think the punishment fit the crime.

“The Mayor believes that this is a painful tragedy that no verdict will take away," said the spokesman Seth Stein. "We’ve worked to strengthen these laws to protect people, and hold reckless drivers accountable. It’s clear more needs to be done.”

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