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

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 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.

  • Daphna

    How about a minimum of 2 years in prison instead of a maximum of 30 days in jail???

  • William Lawson

    Oooo a failure to yield arrest. The small fine which ensues will stagger the reckless driving community of NYC to its core. Nobody will dare driving like a jerk after this.

  • William Lawson

    How about a 10-15 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter

  • Paul52

    There are countries where negligent homicides are dealt with far more harshly. But our system has values deeply rooted in common law principles. The common law was formulated by judges in England drawn from that county’s lords, and lords tended to be far more likely to listen to the excuses of upper class defendants than the excuses of peons.
    Thus we look to punish “criminal mintent” rather than punishing a failure to affirmatively care about the welfare of others.

  • Dana Lerner

    Once again, DA Cy Vance doesn’t bother to make an effort to get reckless drivers off the road. Failure to Exercise Due Care? Failure to Yield? WHY DOESN’T HE SUPPORT THE VICTIMS? WHY DOES HE GIVE A SLAP ON THE WRIST TO THE PEOPLE WHO BREAK THE LAW? New Yorkers voted him into the office but he betrays and insults all victims with his complete lack of empathy and refusal to protect pedestrians. #VictimsofVance

  • William Lawson

    Cy Vance is the piece of shit who refused to press charges against a driver who admitted to cops that he deliberately ran me over with his car.

  • Dana Lerner

    Are you a member of Families For Safe Streets( We could use your help…

  • William Lawson

    I’ll take a look