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EXCLU: NYPD Tow Trucker Who Killed Boy Previously Sued Other Drivers for Recklessness

As a result, the 54-year-old civilian traffic agent with 20 years of experience driving for the city — as well as being a victim of traffic violence repeatedly — should be acutely aware of the importance of safe driving, said an attorney who represents crash victims. 

File photo: David Meyer/Court Documents|

The tow truck driver charged with the crash that caused the death of Kamari Hughes has sued other drivers twice.

She — of all people — should know!

The NYPD tow truck driver who allegedly struck and killed a 7-year-old boy in Brooklyn last week while speeding and talking on her phone has a nearly decade-long history of suing other motorists for their alleged reckless driving.

Police last week charged Stephanie Sharp, 54, with two minor traffic violations stemming from killing Kamari Hughes under the wheels of her truck in Fort Greene — but over the past nine years, she twice sued other drivers over crashes that injured her, court records show.

As a result, the 20-year veteran traffic agent — herself a repeat victim of traffic violence — should be acutely aware of the importance of safe driving, said an attorney who represents crash victims. 

“At the very least it should have sensitized her to what it’s like to be struck by someone else and the harm it’s caused, and to use greater caution,” said Steve Vaccaro. “As a professional driver as someone who’s claimed to have been struck repeatedly … I would expect her to have a heightened awareness of who’s around her.”

Nonetheless, on Oct. 26, Sharp struck and killed young Kamari while turning quickly off Myrtle Avenue onto N. Portland Avenue, cops said. The boy was riding a kick scooter alongside his mom when the deadly crash happened, according to bystanders. 

Witnesses also said Sharp kept going after the impact — only stopping some 100 feet past the intersection after a resident stood in front of her truck.

The Brooklynite joined the NYPD as a traffic enforcement agent in 2003 working out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, not far from the crash location, according to past legal filings. She's suspended without pay for now, the NYPD said.

Sharp’s first and unsuccessful legal case was against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 2014, for injuries she said she sustained after an MTA bus driver side-swiped her tow truck on April 19 on Ralph Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to her allegations.

“The bus ... pulled out before I was clear of him. He pulled out quick, it was like quick because it like knocked me in the other lane,” Sharp said during a deposition

She said she suffered a sprained shoulder and a herniated disc, among other injuries, but no fractures, and she sought months of physical therapy to recover, according to the filings.

A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge dismissed her claims against the Transportation Authority, saying her injuries were not serious enough to warrant damages. 

Four years later in 2018, Sharp sued another two people for a crash that happened the year before on Graham Avenue in Williamsburg. She was operating an NYPD-owned Ford, though it’s not clear whether that was a tow truck as well. 

Sharp accused the driver of a Nissan of being negligent in the crash, but the defendants, who included the motorist and the owner of the car, denied the accusations and the parties reached a pre-trial settlement in late 2019. 

In a deposition, Sharp had mentioned yet another crash, this one in 2010 when someone rear-ended her tow truck on Ocean and Flatbush avenues in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Sharp blamed that driver for not paying attention, but there was no suit.

Before her work at the NYPD, Sharp got a certificate in early childcare from Borough of Manhattan Community College, but instead went to the police academy to become a traffic agent in 2003, according to her deposition.

Police vehicles frequently cut through neighborhood streets like N. Portland Avenue across from Fort Greene Park to get to the tow pound at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, especially during the morning hours when kids are on their way to school, neighbors previously told Streetsblog.

The corner’s intersection suffers from poor visibility because of parked cars sitting right up against the crosswalk, and advocates have called on the city to stop exempting itself from state laws requiring intersections be clear, a process known as daylighting. 

Over the past weekend, some 5,500 people have signed an open letter to Mayor Adams urging him to make the city’s streets safer. Hizzoner tweeted on the evening of the crash he would do “whatever it takes” to do so.

But his administration has established a record of interfering in crucial projects, including in the same neighborhood as the crash such as the Ashland Place bike lanes. When asked about why New Yorkers should trust him to follow his promise, he simply told Streetsblog Friday, “I love New York!”

Sharp and the law firm that represented her in her past two cases did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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