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DÉJA-BLEW: City Failed to Get Another Reckless Driver Off the Road Before Crashing Into Funeral Home 

12:01 AM EDT on October 14, 2021

The blue Dodge Charger after it plowed into a Crown Heights funeral home Tuesday night. Photo: Shmuli Evers

Too little, too late — again.

Yet another reckless driver whose car might have been impounded if he de Blasio administration had implemented a key driver-safety law on time smashed into a Brooklyn funeral home Tuesday night — exactly one month after the very same car blew through a red light during a vigil for a 3-month-old baby, herself killed by a similarly reckless driver who also was never taken off the road despite years of flagrant disregard for the law.

The unidentified motorist in the latest case of deja-vu was behind the wheel of a blue Dodge Charger with plates that have racked up 34 red-light and camera-issued school-zone speeding since just this summer — enough to meet the threshold of a long-stalled bill that requires drivers to take an in-person safety course or have their cars impounded — when it careened into the facade of House of Hills Funeral Home at Brooklyn Avenue and St. Johns Place at about 7 p.m., according to witness Shmuli Evers. 

And it’s the same muscle car, and likely the same driver, that revved through a red light at the corner of Fulton Street and Vanderbilt Avenue on Sept. 13 — so alarming and loud it interrupted Borough President (and future Mayor) Eric Adams as he demanded safer streets after cops said 28-year-old Tyrik Mott killed baby Apolline Mong-Guillemin at the same corner two days earlier. A cop sat idly in his squad car doing nothing as the driver sped past.

“They’re right behind you running the red light,” activist Nicole Murray of the DSA Ecosocialist Working Group yelled at Adams at the presser.

Luckily, no one was injured that time or in Tuesday night's crash, but it's yet another example of the city's failure to rein in reckless drivers — a failure for which the parents of Baby Apolline are paying the ultimate price. Their daughter's killer was driving a Honda Civic with Pennsylvania plates that had been slapped with close to 100 red-light and speed-camera tickets since 2017 when he raced the wrong way down Gates Avenue, hit another vehicle and then slammed into three pedestrians, including Apolline, cops said. Mott was later arrested and was ultimately charged with manslaughter. He's due back in court on Thursday.

The death of Baby Apolline, followed by the crash of the recidivist reckless driver in the Charger, was only a reminder of how many ticking time bombs are out there.

"Last month, this driver ran a red light past a group of politicians holding a press conference about a crash that killed an infant," said Chris O'Leary. "The NYPD stood idly by. ... You couldn't find a better example of how little our city cares about reckless driving."

The owner of the blue Dodge was not subject to towing, despite his multiple tickets, because he has consistently paid them, essentially wiping his record clear.

The NYPD did not comment.

Clarification: The initial version of this story said that the Sheriff could have towed away the blue Charger for unpaid tickets in excess of $350. That assertion resulted because the Department of Finance website said that the car associated with the license plate in question did indeed have $982.20 in overdue tickets; but that website, for reasons we are trying to determine, appeared to lump summonses to the Charger with summonses issued to another car. We will update this note when we get more information.

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