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

This is the moment when bus driver Dave Lewis passed too closely to cyclist Dan Hanegby, who had the right of way, killing him.
This is the moment when bus driver Dave Lewis passed too closely to cyclist Dan Hanegby, who had the right of way, killing him.

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.

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

“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 Set Stein. “We’ve worked to strengthen these laws to protect people, and hold reckless drivers accountable. It’s clear more needs to be done.”

  • Mike

    Couldn’t the judge have at least made his two sentences consecutive instead of concurrent so at least he’d serve an extra 15 days?

  • jaxbot

    No license suspension?

  • Alexis Leonardo Solórzano

    Apparently his license will be suspended for 6 months, hopefully starting the day after he finishes prison, and will have to complete an accident prevention program.

    He should lose his license for good.

  • Joe R.

    He should certainly lose at least his CDL for good. If we had sane laws, anyone responsible for killing or seriously injuring a person would never drive again.

  • Scott Voolker

    Maybe, but studies have consistently shown that what deters criminal behavior is the certainty of punishment, and not its severity. So what we should be complaining about is not this specific case, but the thousands of cases where drivers pass unsafely with impunity.

  • Rex Rocket

    He’ll be back, honking and rolling for some other bus or trucking company. He’ll have a little sticker of a bike on his cap, and everything will be all right.

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