Firefighter Who Used His Car to Run Down a Cyclist is Still Driving Recklessly
Even the threat of jail time won’t stop this city firefighter from endangering others on the road.
Brauley De La Rosa, who was suspended from his FDNY job for a month after cops cuffed him for trying to mow down a cyclist with his car in June, is back on the road doing the very same thing he was arrested for — driving recklessly.
On Aug. 29, a speed camera caught De La Rosa’s car speeding through a school zone in the Bronx, as reported by HowsMyDrivingNY, which combs the city’s traffic violation database. It’s unclear if De La Rosa was driving, or if the plate captured on camera was still affixed to the Dodge muscle car that De La Rosa, 27, used this spring to menace the still-unidentified cyclist.
So this #placardperp is still endangering lives with his car.
Sadly, it's little surprise. pic.twitter.com/zd28JMvyaA
— placard corruption (@placardabuse) September 30, 2019
In that horrific June 6 incident, De La Rosa shoved the biker with the grill of his Dodge muscle car on the West Side Highway near 24th Street — an incident caught on video by Liz Gonzales of Barstool Sports.
Gonzales said the firefighter had run a red light and almost hit her and her dog before getting into the aggressive altercation with the cyclist. De La Rosa, who was wearing a bodybuilding.com-shirt, snatched the cellphone of the cyclist, who refused to back down. Activists and members of the council called for De La Rosa to be fired.
The driver (an off-duty firefighter) who blew a red light & maniacally kept pushing a cyclist with his car on the West Side Hway last week would have triggered the Reckless Driver Accountability Act to be booted or impounded. We need stronger tools to combat sociopathic driving. https://t.co/StBx0khAzK
— Brad Lander (@bradlander) June 10, 2019
The Yonkers resident later told Gothamist that he thought the outrage over the incident was “totally blown out of proportion” — but he should not have even been on the road: his license had been suspended from one or more of the 11 speeding tickets he had already racked up between late 2017 and April, 2019.
The Aug. 29 speeding ticket makes it an even dozen — the second time in De La Rosa’s short career as a driver that he had five speeding tickets in a 12-month period, enough to get his beloved muscle car impounded under a soon-to-pass bill from Council Member Brad Lander.
A few days after the June incident, cops arrested De La Rosa for reckless endangerment and driving without a valid license — charges that carry a maximum sentence of a year in jail. The FDNY suspended him without pay for 28 days, costing him roughly $5,900 of his $71,000 city salary. He’s back in court on Oct. 3 — and a conviction could cost him his job.
But he’s obviously put it out of his mind. By mid-July, he was back on the clock — and a little more than a month later, driving recklessly again.
It’s not clear if De La Rosa is on the road legally or not — he hung up when Streetsblog called, and did not respond to multiple text messages about whether his license remains suspended. The state Department of Motor Vehicles did not respond to a request for comment about the status of De La Rosa’s license.
In any event, the firefighter’s continued recklessness is the latest black eye for the de Blasio administration, which is struggling to keep its own employees from endangering the public they have sworn to protect and serve. Earlier this year, a groundbreaking Streetsblog investigation revealed that 58 percent of police employees have received serious moving violations, and nearly 38 percent had been ticketed multiple times for recklessness. Those numbers are far worse than the general population.
The investigation forced de Blasio to admit in April that he was “concerned” about cops driving recklessly while behind the wheel of their own private cars — and he vowed to “act on it.” But five months later, nothing has changed.
Indeed, on Monday, City Hall still could not provide any further details about the crackdown against reckless city drivers like De La Rosa. Instead, a spokesman for City Hall said the de Blasio administration is working with local and state pols to pass laws that impose harsher penalties on reckless drivers, like Lander’s bill, though de Blasio has repeatedly said he knows nothing about it.
“We will never stop pursuing Vision Zero, including by pushing for laws that will make our streets safer and save lives across the city,” said spokesman Seth Stein. “When it comes to reckless driving, we are looking to pass stiffer penalties and other laws in Albany and at the city level, and are currently working with the Council on Brad Lander’s legislation.”
Boy oh boy, de Blasio tells @BrianLehrer that he isn't familiar with @bradlander's reckless driver bill.
— Ben Max (@TweetBenMax) September 13, 2019
There’s lots of work to be done, as neither New York’s Finest nor New York’s Bravest are the only ones who menace pedestrians and cyclists on the road. As Streetsblog reported on Monday, city employees in their taxpayer-funded government cars caused 3,357 crashes between July, 2018 and June, 2019, costing taxpayers nearly $115 million a year in settlement money to the victims of those crashes.
De La Rosa hasn’t hurt anyone — yet. But safe-street advocates say that his history of reckless driving is the exact reason the mayor should work harder to iron out whatever misgivings he has about Lander’s bill so that recidivists like De La Rosa will simply lose their wheels.