Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Crash Data

Cops Charge the Driver Who Hit and Killed Former Columbia University Professor

4:23 PM EDT on March 20, 2019

Police on Wednesday arrested the 24-year-old driver who hit and killed the former Columbia University professor and dean Peter Awn in January.

Police have arrested the driver who hit and killed former Columbia University professor and dean Peter Awn near the Morningside Heights campus in January — a death that stunned the entire campus community.

Cops cuffed 24-year-old Shiv Kumar, who lives in Queens, on Wednesday afternoon and charged him with failure to yield and failure to exercise due care when he drove his 2015 Toyota Highlander into Awn as the 75-year-old academic crossed Claremont Avenue at W. 116th Street on Jan. 25 at about 6:30 p.m.

Awn suffered severe head trauma and died on Feb. 17. Awn was a beloved figure on the Columbia campus, where he taught for 20 years, most recently as a top dean. He had retired in 2017.

“Since his arrival on the Columbia campus more than four decades ago, no one has been a more beloved member of our community than Peter,” said Columbia University President Lee Bollinger. “The grief we feel at his loss is overwhelming.

Kumar had stayed on the scene of the crash. Neither police nor the Manhattan District Attorney's Office could say why it took two months to charge him.

Kumar faces a maximum of 30 days in jail. Such sentences are rare, although it does happen. In October, a Manhattan judge sentenced the bus driver who killed Citi Bike rider Dan Hanegby to jail for 30 days. He might have avoided jail time if he had pleaded guilty to the charge.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Tuesday’s Headlines: Don’t Look Up Edition

It's hard to believe that it's going to rain again today, plus other more important news.

September 26, 2023

Another Flip-Flop: City Hall Allegedly Pauses Almost-Done Underhill Ave. Bike Boulevard

City Hall is intervening in yet another street redesign project, and supporters fear it could be the start of dismantling other improvements.

September 26, 2023

Analysis: Everyone Agrees — Less Parking Means More Housing

Let's take a second-day look at Mayor Adams's "City of Yes" zoning proposal to do away with mandatory parking in new developments.

September 25, 2023

What is the Life of a Dead Pedestrian Worth?

A cop laughed that a normal person is only worth $11,000 — and that figure was partly due to his racism, but also how little we value the lives of people on foot.

September 25, 2023

Monday’s Headlines: ‘What is Up With All These Flip-Flops, Mayor?’ Edition

It's the same old story with this mayor and his chief adviser, Ingrid Lewis-Martin. Plus other news.

September 25, 2023
See all posts