Postal Service Hasn’t Even Called Family Whose Relative Was Killed By a USPS Driver

Gregory McClean at the intersection in Brooklyn where his brother, Charles, was killed by a postal service driver. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Gregory McClean at the intersection in Brooklyn where his brother, Charles, was killed by a postal service driver. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

The United States Postal Service has not reached out to the grieving family of a Brooklyn man who was run down by one of the mail system’s truck drivers last week — prompting more calls for increased oversight of the unaccountable federal agency.

Charles McClean was killed on Macdougal Avenue in the Ocean Hill section of the borough on Friday, May 3, but one week later, his family hasn’t heard a thing from the USPS — nor from the NYPD, which hasn’t made an arrest even though the identity of the driver is known to them.

“Not even a call,” said Arkim McClean, the dead man’s brother. “And nothing on an arrest.”

The McClean family’s grieving is likely to lead to more pressure on the Postal Service to, at the very least, put license plates on their trucks so that they can be tracked for parking infractions and moving violations. Because the Postal Service is a federal agency, they are not subject to fines by local governments — but that doesn’t mean they can’t be monitored, suggested Council Member Keith Powers.

Arkim McClean, the brother of Charles McClean.
Arkim McClean, the brother of Charles McClean.

“The issue is simply there are so many vehicles out there breaking the rules,” said Powers, a Manhattan lawmaker who tangled with the USPS over parking issues in his district, and raised the issue again at an unrelated City Council hearing on April 29. (Video at 1:35:00).

“Why do they get to play by their own rules. The city’s view is they have to comply. They view it differently,” Powers added. “We are trying to fix issues such as reckless driving or parking and to have a government agency doing whatever it wants sends the wrong message. They should live like the rest of us. The government shouldn’t be doing what we tell everyone else not to do. It’s an obxious way to behave.”

In the wake of McClean’s death, family members said they wondered if there were other victims out there. Good luck finding out, the NYPD said.

“If there’s a crash involving a truck, we don’t designate whether it was a UPS truck, a Postal Service truck, a FedEx truck or Mr. Smith’s truck. It’s just truck,” an NYPD spokesman told Streetsblog. We got no further answer when asked if the agency has an official policy on handling the unique challenges of enforcement against the Postal Service.

But a traffic enforcement officer told Streetsblog that his commanding officer told him not to bother even writing tickets when he sees USPS trucks parked in bike lanes, parked illegally, blocking crosswalks or doing other dangerous things that New Yorkers see every day.

“They drive terribly,” the enforcement officer said. “I want to give them tickets, but they don’t have to pay them so my C.O. said it’s a waste of my time. He’s right, but it makes me feel like I’m not doing my job.”

But it must be someone’s job to oversee the Postal Service. Or maybe not. A spokeswoman for the Postal Service Inspector General said the oversight office does not monitor the Postal Service for driver safety records or summonses. A 2012 audit — the last of its kind — focused on whether supervisors in the agency’s XX divisions “completed the required minimum [safety] observations” of drivers. None of the managers at 23 postal service regions did the minimum — and seven regions did not do any safety observations at all (the audit is redacted so it is impossible to know which regions had the worst records; Streetsblog has submitted a Freedom of Information Law request for the unredacted report).

The House Oversight Committee — whose portfolio does include the Postal Service — did not respond to requests for information about whether it examines USPS driving records.

Streetsblog asked the Postal Service for extensive information about its safety records, but for now, the agency could only say it is “cooperating with the NYPD investigation” of the death of Charles McClean, who was dragged by a Postal Service truck last Friday as he returned from a corner story, cops said. The preliminary investigation showed that the driver of the truck was looking left at oncoming traffic and inching up through the crosswalk. Once the traffic subsided, the driver started moving without looking. Had he looked, he would have seen McClean in front of his truck.

“We cannot say more because it is an ongoing investigation,” said USPS spokeswoman Maureen Marion.

 

  • Andrew

    The United States Postal Service has not reached out to the grieving family of a Brooklyn man who was run down by one of the mail system’s truck drivers last week

    Maybe they sent a letter. It’ll show up in a week or two.

  • Fool

    It is in no one’s job description to call the victim’s family.

  • Maggie

    USPS also killed an 83 year old crossing the street in the Upper West Side in 2017.

  • I’ve taken so many photos of USPS parked taking up BOTH crosswalks at a corner. The other day in Jackson Heights I was walking down 37th Avenue and a truck hit the intersection so fast it went airbound for a second. Must have been traveling near 40 mph.

  • So thank you for doing this story.

  • Bernard Finucane

    The problem is that the curb isn’t wide enough at street corners in NYC. A the end of the parking lane near a street corner, the curb should bulb out. To prevent drivers from driving up onto the curb, metal posts should be installed at the curb.

    https://www.google.com/maps/@51.2249401,6.7882021,3a,75y,93.88h,97.63t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sX18pST8JZ28Uf3gKJew0Tw!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo1.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DX18pST8JZ28Uf3gKJew0Tw%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D50.380703%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656

  • Jeff

    They haven’t called because the USPS could care less. You watch, they’ll try to blame the victim.

  • William Lawson

    Read the Yelp reviews for any post office in New York. They’re hilarious. Meanwhile, you have USPS clearly telling its drivers that they’re a law unto themselves on the road because of their federal status, and those drivers are risking lives….for what? So that a bunch of tacky corporations can bombard people’s mailboxes with junk. Because that’s pretty much all I get delivered these days. The lady in the shorts comes every day and fills my mailbox with garbage that I have to recycle. What a bunch of BS.

  • I got into an argument with a USPS truck driver while on my bike. It was very undignified. He did not act like a decent human being, much less an upstanding employee of a longstanding United States federal agency. Let’s just say he had some weird ideas about general road courtesy, as well as using his work vehicle to menace bicyclists. I invited him to join me at a nearby location free of security cameras where we could further discuss our disagreement, but he declined. Of course.

  • sbauman

    The lack of contact in this case may be due to legal advice.

    The assumption has to be that the USPS will be sued. Anything that anyone connected with USPS tells the plaintiff can be used in the expected civil suit. The lawyers’ advice is to clam up and avoid any contact with any potential plaintiff.

  • handleman

    Postal Trucks have serial numbers in leu of license plates.

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