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Recidivist Reckless Driver Hits and Kills 23-Year-Old in Brooklyn 

3:33 PM EDT on April 1, 2021

The crash was this morning at this Downtown Brooklyn intersection. Photo: Julianne Cuba

A driver with a history of speeding fatally struck a 23-year-old in Downtown Brooklyn early Thursday, police said.

Cops had few details about the fatal crash, but said that a 67-year-old man was behind the wheel of a Jeep heading south in the middle lane of Flatbush Avenue Extension when he struck and killed pedestrian Joseph Fernandez near Gold Street at about 6:30 a.m. Fernandez was a resident of Old Tappan, N.J., police said.

Police could not say whether the driver — whose name has not been released — was speeding, distracted, or had gone through a red light when he fatally struck the victim, but the Jeep involved in the crash has been nabbed with nine camera-issued speeding tickets and one camera-issued red light ticket since November, 2018.

Five of the speeding tickets were from last year, according to How’s My Driving. And photos taken at the scene show severe damage to the Jeep, which suggests that the driver was speeding at the time of the fatal crash.

The plate of the Jeep that fatally struck the 23-year-old victim. Source: How's My Driving
The plate of the Jeep that fatally struck the 23-year-old victim. Source: How's My Driving
The plate of the Jeep that fatally struck the 23-year-old victim. Source: How's My Driving

And the intersection is just a stone's throw from the 84th Precinct, which is ringed with officers' legally and illegally parked private vehicles — many of which have been slapped with multiple tickets of their own for speeding and going through red lights, as Streetsblog has reported.

That stretch of Downtown Brooklyn is a particularly perilous place, thanks to multiple highway entrance and exits ramps, plus Flatbush Avenue itself. In 2019*, there were 424 reported crashes, injuring seven cyclists, eight pedestrians and 93 motorists, on just the seven-block stretch of Flatbush Avenue Extension between Tillary and Fulton streets (more than one crash a day).

At the intersection in question, there were 101 reported crashes, injuring two cyclists and 11 motorists. At one intersection!

It is unclear why the Jeep driver has been allowed to keep his license with such a bad driving record — except that no laws exist to take driving privileges away from drivers until they accrue more than 15 camera-issued speeding tickets within any 12 month period. Camera-issued tickets do not count as points on a driver's license, under state law.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney's office said a prosecutor was at the scene and the crash is under investigation.

* Streetsblog is using 2019 data as the default rather than 2020 because of the wildly different driving patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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