Trucker Kills Woman in Flatbush And Walks By Saying the Magic Words: ‘I Didn’t Know!’

This is the truck that allegedly was driven into Linda Douglas on April 3. Photo: NYPD
This is the truck that allegedly was driven into Linda Douglas on April 3. Photo: NYPD

The hit-and-run truck driver who killed a woman at a notorious Brooklyn intersection early on Wednesday was found by cops later that night, but then released without charges because he reportedly told officers that he’d driven off because he never knew he’d hit the victim.

He claimed “he didn’t know he struck the victim,” a police official told Gothamist.

The NYPD declined to give Streetsblog key information about the investigation. At around 7 p.m. Wednesday, the agency released a video of the truck that they say ran over and killed Linda Douglas at the corner of Flatbush and Nostrand avenues roughly 14 hours earlier.

It’s unclear when cops interviewed the trucker, whose name and company were not released. The spokesperson told Gothamist that “good police work” led to the conclusion that the driver should not be initially charged.

That was news to Douglas’s husband, John Douglas, who told the outlet that he was disappointed in the NYPD response to his wife’s death.

“Anybody can say, ‘Oh I didn’t see them, talk to my lawyer,'” he said. “You don’t run over somebody and just keep going.”

In this city, actually, you do. District Attorneys have long said that they won’t charge drivers who say they didn’t know they had hit someone because it’s hard to convince a jury otherwise. Most recently, the oil truck driver charged with killing Chaim Joseph — and then fleeing — earlier this year was not charged with leaving the scene of the crash because he claimed he did not know of the collision with the cyclist.

In 2018, there were 5,699 hit-and-run crashes that resulted in injuries citywide. But only 492 people — or just 8.6 percent — were arrested, according to NYPD stats. That’s a tiny bit lower than 2017, as City Limits reported. The low arrest rate can be due to two factors: inability to catch hit-and-run drivers or lack of desire to charge hit-and-run drivers with the “run” part.

Pedestrian and cyclists deaths are soaring at the start of 2019, with Douglas representing the 49th pedestrian or cyclist killed, up 29 percent over the same period last year, according to the NYPD TrafficStat database.

 

  • com63

    Isn’t that truck an illegal 53’+ vehicle? Shouldn’t the fact that the driver was driving an illegal vehicle in the city and killed someone be the basis for a manslaughter charge?

  • Nawc77

    Didn’t this take place at The Junction? Isn’t that a “Barn Dance” intersection.

  • The pictured tractor trailer is over 55′ feet bumper to bumper limit set in 4-15(b)(4), but appears that it’s hauling an indivisible load. In that case it must have a daily oversize permit from DOT for each direction of its trip to be legal on NYC streets as outlined by 4-15(b)(15). https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/oversize.shtml

  • com63

    Who wants to bet if the NYPD verified the paperwork was in order

  • William Lawson

    This is what really pisses me off about these feckless garbage DA’s. They completely and utterly deny justice to the families of victims of vehicular violence on the basis that it would be “too hard” to convince a jury and get a conviction. So basically when bringing a case against a killer driver is “hard’ then that’s it, they automatically give up?

    Meanwhile, if the crime was financial fraud, and it was millions of dollars instead of a human life, nothing would stop the investigation. No stone would be left unturned in a massive effort to secure a conviction. No piece of evidence would be considered too small. They would earmark thousands of man hours to pore over millions of emails and documents. All the best investigators and prosecutors. Every witness interviewed, no matter how trivial. You see trials lasting months, at a cost of millions of dollars. No sir, they sure as hell aren’t going to let anyone get off with fraud or embezzlement.

    But you just go right ahead and mow elderly women down in your truck. Slaughter them like pigeons in the street. They’ll close the investigation on the strength first word that comes out of your mouth. No “man hours” are wasted hunting out boring evidence and taking dozens of witness statements (in fact if someone at the scene witnessed your crime and attempted to tell the cops that you’re lying, the cops will simply tell them to mind their own business and threaten you with arrest if you try to help their “investigation” any further).

    No, ordinary people are just shit out of luck when it comes to DA’s doing their job. They don’t give a shit about your life. Even if you’re a kid with your whole life ahead of you and its brutally snatched away from you by a violent criminal who belongs behind bars. The DA will simply claim that it’s too “difficult” to prosecute the bastard who killed you, and go back to what they were doing 5 minutes ago which is daydreaming about what color they’re going to paint their retirement condo in Florida. This is why I will leap for joy the day I hear that one of these piece of sh*t DA’s has been run over by a truck. They deserve it. Their laziness and apathy is absolutely 100% killing New Yorkers and we should never take the pressure off them or stop exposing their incompetence.

  • William Lawson

    Most cops are too stupid and uneducated to know that illegal 53’ers are even a thing.

  • See you in hell NYPD

  • kevd

    “if the crime was financial fraud, and it was millions of dollars instead of a human life, nothing would stop the investigation.”

    2008 seems to indicate otherwise….

  • Joe R.

    Very true, and even though you don’t agree with me, I think financial crimes in which millions of dollars are stolen should be legally treated as the equivalent of taking a human life, which has an actuarial value in the millions. That would include the death penalty for particularly onerous financial crimes where the money stolen has a value equivalent to mass murder. Unfortunately, never mind severe penalties, the government actually bailed a lot of these fraudsters out in 2008 because they were “too big to fail”.

    It’s a pity we don’t at least treat vehicular violence like what it really is, namely murder. “I didn’t see them” or “I lost control”, or “I had a medical episode” are get out of jail free cards. At a bare minimum anyone who kills someone with their vehicle due to negligence, incompetence, or recklessness should have their driver’s license permanently revoked. In many cases there should be additional sanctions like fines, jail time, or even the death penalty.

  • Joe R.

    I think the reason the state couldn’t go to those lengths is ironically because vehicular homicide is much more common than major instances of financial fraud. Seriously, how often do these major fraud cases come up, a few times a year at best? Meanwhile in NYC someone is killed by a motor vehicle at least every other day on average. The state just wouldn’t have the resources for 200 major investigations and trials annually, although it is a good idea.

    What we should do is after you kill someone with your vehicle, your license is suspended pending investigation. If the investigation finds you were negligent, reckless, or incompetent, that’s it, your license is revoked permanently and you’ll never drive again. To put teeth into the law, anyone driving without a valid license will forfeit their vehicle to the state to be auctioned off (with the proceeds given to victims of vehicular violence).

  • cybertec69

    What hell is that, the one floating around in your head that you have been indoctrinated with.

  • the one where lowlifes like you and me go when we die

  • kevd

    you’re a fucking psychopath if you want to execute people for theft.

  • Joe R.
  • kevd

    you’re still a fucking psychopath*.

    *maybe sociopath, I ain’t a psychologist but I know crazy when I see it.

  • Joe R.

    And yet at least three countries are doing exactly what I mentioned. Guess they’re run by psychopaths by your thinking. In fact, lots of countries have capital punishment for non-violent offenses:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_for_non-violent_offenses

    The US is even on some of the lists.

    Also, have you considered how these major frauds have impacted people? 2008 caused thousands of people who lost everything to commit suicide:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2014/06/12/more-than-10000-suicides-tied-to-economic-crisis-study-says/#41a49df57ae2

    Their deaths are the end result of the actions of these fraudsters, even if they technically didn’t perform the killing.

    I don’t know why we’re so soft on white-collar crime in this country, or why people like you seem to implicitly defend it by taking certain penalties off the table.

  • kevd

    go back to your hole, you fucking nut job.
    or better yet, only talk to larry.

  • Joe R.

    I’m sorry I even bought it up. You educated me. Let’s not only not do what I said, but let’s give big rewards to these fraudsters for more effectively doing what our government has been trying to do for the last 4 decades, namely make the rich richer at the expense of everyone else. I nominate Madoff for the Presidential Medal of Honor. In fact, let’s do the same for everyone on this list:

    https://www.worldfinance.com/strategy/legal-management/10-of-the-most-controversial-financial-fraudsters

    They’re heroes of the state furthering the good cause of getting you and I and every other working person closer to living out their later years in a cardboard box. Only the very rich matter. Everyone else is just filler.

  • kevd

    Don’t straw man me, Joe. I’m in favor of prosecuting and severly punishing severe financial crimes. Including long, hard time.
    I’m opposed to execution because I’m not a blood thirsty maniac, because it is more expensive than life in prison (though life in prison is absurd in these cases, too) and because contrary to what proponents say, it is not in fact a detterant.

    The only explanation for those who continue to advocate for capital punishment is some sort of sick, blood lust.

  • Joe R.

    OK, so you just should have said you were against capital punishment, period. That’s a valid position, even though I don’t happen to agree with it. I know capital punishment as currently implemented is more expensive than life in prison, although that’s a product of our justice system more than something inherent to capital punishment. I also know in a lot of cases it’s not a deterrent to keep others from committing the same crime, although it obviously deters the person who already committed the crime from doing so again. Its primary benefit is satisfying the victims of the crime. Whether the state should engage in it is another question.

    Keep in mind I come from a culture where the concept of the victim getting their revenge on the perpetrator is highly ingrained. Here’s a little background:

    https://the-mafia.weebly.com/vendetta.html

    Up to the 1900s, Vendettas were considered as legitimate legal instruments and were regulated to some degree by the law.

    The problem is obviously when these things get out of hand. In theory, if person A kills person B, the relatives of person B get to kill person A and that’s the end of it. Unfortunately, what happened in practice was the relatives of person A then tried to get their revenge, and you ended up with a big, bloody mess, often with innocent bystanders getting killed.

    As for the whole sick, blood lust thing you mentioned, arguably life in prison is a much more cruel punishment than the death penalty, yet most of those against capital punishment are OK with it. Honestly, if I were facing even a very long prison sentence, never mind life without possibility of parole, I would kill myself first. If the state did it I would consider it a blessing.

    If you really want to talk civilized, then prisons would rehabilitate offenders and release them back into society within a few years, regardless of their crime. Warehousing inmates for decades, even for life, with no hope of release and no attempt at rehabilitation, doesn’t seem civilized to me, either.

    And note I’m one of the few people here who doesn’t jump on the bandwagon to put drivers who kill people in jail. The argument here is a microcosm of the anti-death penalty arguments. It costs more to press a criminal case against a driver, the burden of proof is much higher, and generally these people aren’t a danger to society such that they need to be jailed. They’re only a danger behind the wheel, so we should just keep them from driving again. Permanently revoking their driving privileges is a much lower bar for the legal system to cross, and it accomplishes the goal of keeping that person from killing any more people behind the wheel. It also serves a deterrent to other drivers who may need to drive for economic reasons. They’ll drive more carefully, or risk forever losing a privilege that lets them participate in the economy.

  • Joe R.

    One more thing worth a mention regarding the whole blood lust thing. Honestly, that has nothing to do with my support of capital punishment. I’m thinking more like an engineer would. If something’s broken, you have three options—fix it, replace it, or discard it. Obviously, “replace it” isn’t an option when we’re talking about a person. That leaves “fix it”, or “discard it”. “Fix it” in this contest obviously means rehabilitation and release. However, even the most optimistic person realizes not all criminals can be rehabilitated, although sadly our justice system usually doesn’t even try. That leaves “discard it” as the only option. How to do that is where pro and anti death penalty people differ. A third option might just to put all these incorrigible criminals on an island where they can fend for themselves. There are all kinds of pros and cons as to what costs less, is less cruel, and so forth. Many shades of gray here, with no easy answers. One thing we should do is spend more money figuring out how to rehabilitate and release these people. Keeping people in prison is very expensive. It’s also dangerous to those who guard them. When you have a prison full of lifers, they basically have nothing to lose. Every interaction with a prison guard is potentially deadly.

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