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Hit-and-Run Killer Still At Large Amid Renewed Calls to Crack Down on Repeat Reckless Drivers

The driver's out of state plates logged nearly a dozen speeding and red light tickets in less than six weeks.

3:01 PM EST on January 10, 2024

File photo: Dave Colon

A hit-and-run motorist with a history of dangerous driving remains on the lam — two days after killing someone and injuring three others in a Bushwick crash early Monday, according to police. 

The driver's car was caught 11 times speeding in school zones and breaking a red light in less than six weeks before the deadly collision, prompting advocates to call on the city to revive efforts to rein in such out-of-control motorists.

City officials last year killed the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program, which had made drivers with repeated speed and red light camera tickets take a safety course or risk losing their car, an initiative born out of another fatal Brooklyn crash at the hands of a recidivist offender in 2018.

“New York City needs tools to get reckless drivers off our streets and prevent traffic violence," said Kathy Park Price, Brooklyn organizer with Transportation Alternatives.

"Instead of letting tools such as the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program expire, we need to strengthen them to stop crashes like this one from happening. The City Council must prioritize reauthorization this session."

Automated enforcement cameras caught driver's New Jersey plates speeding in school zones 10 times and blowing a red light on one occasion between Nov. 26 through Jan. 1— an average of more than twice a week. Most of the speeding incidents occurred in Brooklyn. 

The now-defunct DVAP let the city to order motorists take a safe driving course or face having their car impounded if they got 15 speed or five red light camera violations over a year. The at-large Bushwick motorist would have easily cleared that hurdle at their rate of infractions.

The alleged killer behind the wheel of the Kia SUV T-boned another car at Irving Avenue and Stockholm Street around 12:48 a.m. on Jan. 8., NYPD officials said — causing the second vehicle to careen into a row of parked vehicles — before fleeing on foot. 

The chaotic crash killed one passenger and critically injured two others in the second car, a Toyota sedan. The 26-year-old Toyota driver also sustained injuries, and cops arrested him for driving with a suspended license. 

The hit-and-run motorist was driving at high speed, according to surveillance footage and a witness account in an ABC7 report.

Data show that drivers with five or more camera violations are nearly twice as likely to be involved in injury-causing crashes and those with 10 or more tickets being nearly three times as likely. 

DVAP sunsetted in October after three years, and neither Mayor Adams nor the City Council chose to renew it.

Less than 900 people took the course out of tens of thousands who accrued 15 or more camera-issued speeding tickets in any 12-month period, and only 12 vehicles were ever seized, according to a Department of Transportation analysis covering two-and-a-half years. 

Lawmakers enacted the temporary program in response to a horrific 2018 crash when motorist Dorothy Bruns blew through a red light at a Park Slope intersection and killed two kids and injured their mothers. Her car had previously been nabbed eight times for running red lights and speeding in school zones. 

The Council watered down the initial bill which would have triggered enforcement with five speed or red light camera tickets, because officials claimed they didn’t have the resources to give courses or impound cars of the estimated 100,000 drivers that the law would cover.

Another fatal crash happened just one block over at the intersection of Irving and Dekalb Avenues, where a motorist fatally struck a 77-year-old woman crossing the street in late 2020.

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