Manhattan DA Indicts Driver on Multiple Counts for Fatal Inwood Crash

David Fernandez and Joel Adames were killed in the crash, but on Monday, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg announced an indictment.
David Fernandez and Joel Adames were killed in the crash, but on Monday, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg announced an indictment.

The driver whose speeding led to a crash that killed two men on an Inwood sidewalk in August is facing 15 years in jail, courtesy of the Manhattan District Attorney.

Leandro Diaz-Ramirez was indicted on a top count of manslaughter after driving his BMW at nearly 60 miles per hour through a red light at Sherman Avenue and 207th Street on Aug. 3, then crashing into a Subaru that then slammed into 31-year-old Joel Adames and 40-year-old David Fernandez, killing both men, Manhatta DA Alvin Bragg said on Monday.

“As alleged, this reckless speeding and driving ended in tragedy,” Bragg said in a statement that outlined all the charges: manslaughter in the second degree; felony assault and misdemeanor assault; and criminally negligent homicide. “Manhattanites should not be killed by drivers when they are simply walking in their neighborhood. We will continue to protect the safety of pedestrians and drivers on our streets.”

The manslaughter charge, a Class C felony, carries a top sentence of 15 years.

It is rare for drivers to be charged for killing pedestrians, even amid allegations of recklessness, unless they are operating their vehicles without a license, as Streetsblog has frequently reported.

There may be additional circumstances here. Media photos from the original crash scene showed that the BMW was carrying temporary — and perhaps fake — plates, and Mayor Adams is eager to show action on what he calls “ghost cars” after an announced crackdown in July.

And a video obtained by Streetsblog of the crash shows police officers arriving within seconds, a suggestion that cops were chasing the BMW before its driver crashes. (The NYPD denied that it was chasing either car. And a spokesman for Bragg said on Monday that there was no police chase.)


NYPD Rarely Enforces Speed Limit on Deadly Broadway in Upper Manhattan

In our Tuesday post on the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s latest “Most Dangerous Roads for Walking” report, we noted the concentration of pedestrian deaths on Broadway in Washington Heights, where pedestrian islands, protected bike lanes and other safety features are not present above 168th Street. In addition to engineering, another factor in pedestrian fatalities and injuries is, […]