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USPS Truck Driver Charged with Misdemeanor for Killing Upper West Sider Jeffrey Williamson

12:01 AM EST on November 11, 2021

The victim, Jeffrey Williamson, was run over and killed by a postal truck driver. Photo: Ken Coughlin

The Postal Service driver who cops say ran over and killed an Upper West Side cyclist on Central Park West earlier this year has been charged in the fatal crash, Streetsblog has learned.

Sergei Alekseev, 62, of Sheepshead Bay, is facing a misdemeanor count of failure to yield and a traffic summons for failure to exercise due care for running over and killing cyclist Jeffrey Williamson on Central Park West on June 29. He turned himself in at the Midtown North precinct house on Nov. 2, police said.

"I'm happy he was charged with something, but a misdemeanor takes almost no consideration that my husband died," said Williamson's widow, Christopher Brimer. "He ran my husband down with a mail truck. The charge of 'failure to yield' doesn't even suggest that a man died. It's more like, 'Whoopsie, I guess I didn't look.'"

According to police, both Alekseev and Williamson were moving northbound on Central Park West at around 5:40 p.m. when Alekseev slammed his 2019 Peterbilt truck into Williamson as he made a right turn onto the 86th Street transverse. Williamson was heading straight and had the right of way.

Brimer's lawyer, Steve Vaccaro, said a civil notice of claim against the Postal Service has been filed, but will not be dealt with until after Alekseev's criminal case has been resolved.

"We think he should plead guilty," Vaccaro said.

The charges against Alekseev are exceptionally rare. Last year, the NYPD wrote only 35,257 summons for failure to yield, which amounts to roughly one per day per precinct. Even in fatal crashes, arrests and summonses are very rare. In 2019, for example, Streetsblog reported that only six drivers who killed cyclists were charged — a rate of roughly one in five. And only 58 percent of drivers who killed pedestrians received so much as a summons.

Such numbers anger Brimer.

"The way that motorists' failures are so typically forgiven is terrible," she said. "These crashes have astonishingly horrifying consequences and people should be more aware of that. The law is written to protect drivers to an unreasonable extent."

In some ways, the arrest of Alekseev is a tale of two cities. On May 3, 2019, Charles McClean was walking home from a quick trip to a bodega when a Postal Service worker, whose name has never been released, killed him with his USPS truck at the corner of MacDougal Street and Howard Avenue.

NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie confirmed (again) this week that "no arrests have been made and no summons have been issued."

The Postal Service has declined to answer any of Streetsblog's questions about either case. City and state officials do not hold the Postal Service truly accountable for the road violence caused by its drivers, whose trucks do not bear license plates. Even when a USPS vehicle is slapped with a ticket, the USPS is not required to pay it.

In addition, a Streetsblog investigation in 2019 found that between 2013 and mid-2019, the USPS quietly settled 661 motor vehicular injury suits by New York City residents, roughly 100 per year, with an average value of $35,000, or a grand total of $23 million. Over the same period, the postal service paid out roughly $353 million to settle 15,580 claims nationwide, which amounts to more than 2,300 crashes per year, according to data obtained by Streetsblog in a Freedom of Information request.

Alekseev could not be reached for comment.

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