Garodnick Wants NYPD Investigation Into Death of Pedestrian Rubin Baum

Rubin and Denise Baum

City Council Member Dan Garodnick is asking NYPD for a “full investigation” into the weekend crash that killed Upper East Side pedestrian Rubin Baum.

The news went out on Garodnick’s Twitter feed earlier today.

Baum and his wife Denise were struck at Park Avenue and E. 59th Street on Saturday, September 22, as the couple attempted to hail a cab. According to reports, the driver of a Mazda sedan ran a red light and struck a minivan. The Mazda spun into the Baums, killing Mr. Baum and injuring Mrs. Baum.

Baum was an 80-year-old decorated Korean War vet. His father was killed at the hands of a Manhattan motorist in 1977.

“If cars are obeying traffic laws, accidents like the one that led to Rubin Baum’s tragic death would be avoided,” said Garodnick in a written statement to Streetsblog. “I want to make sure the NYPD gives this and similar cases the attention they deserve.”

Only about half of New York City motorists who kill pedestrians and cyclists are cited for careless driving. Unless a motorist is under the influence, and the evidence holds up in court, criminal charges against drivers who maim and kill are extremely rare. Drivers who take a life can expect to retain or regain their driving privileges, even in cases involving alcohol or drugs.

A few hours after Baum was killed, NYPD announced to the media that “no criminality was suspected.”

In response to our e-mail from earlier this week, Erin Duggan, communications director for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, said, ”We decline to comment on individual investigations, but the DA’s office reviews all fatal crashes in Manhattan.”

Baum was the 27th Manhattan pedestrian or cyclist known killed by a motorist in 2012. To date, no motorists are known to have been charged for causing a death in any of those crashes.