NYPD and Media Declare “Accident” as Another Child Killed by NYC Motorist

For at least the seventh time in 2013 and the second time in 10 days, a New York City motorist has struck and killed a young child.

Allison Liao, 3, was crossing Main Street in Flushing with her grandmother at around 5:30 p.m. Sunday when she was hit by the driver of a Nissan SUV, who was turning left onto Main from Cherry Avenue, according to reports. A witness told WABC that the driver hit Liao with the vehicle, then ran the child over. Liao was declared dead at New York Hospital Queens.

As usual, media accounts favor superfluous details — multiple stories emphasize that the driver was upset — while omitting information that could help prevent future fatalities. No coverage that we have seen indicates who had the right of way, nor is there any mention that state law requires drivers to exercise due care to avoid hitting people. Instead, the public gets more victim-blaming, with a helping of motorist absolution, from the Daily News:

A 3-year-old was killed by an SUV on Sunday after she broke free from her grandmother while they were crossing the street in Queens, police said.

Alison died on her way to the hospital, cops said. The devastated driver of the SUV stayed at the scene and was crying, witnesses said.

As is routine when the driver is sober and does not leave the scene, NYPD and the media appear ready to exculpate the killer of wrongdoing. “As of 11 p.m. Sunday night, the driver had not been charged,” said WABC’s Lucy Yang. “Investigators currently believe this may have all been an accident.”

Allison Liao is at least the seventh child aged 7 and under killed by a city driver this year, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Sunday’s crash happened 10 days after another SUV driver fatally stuck Kiko Shao, 5, in Sunset Park.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death for children in NYC. A recent WNYC study found that an average of five kids between the ages of 5 and 17 are struck by city motorists every day. By treating these deaths as isolated “accidents,” and refusing to hold drivers accountable, NYPD and the city press corps are helping to ensure that children will continue to die.

This fatal crash occurred in the 109th Precinct, where Michael Munoz was killed by a curb-jumping driver two weeks ago. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Brian J. Maguire, the precinct’s commanding officer, go to the next community council meeting. The 109th Precinct council meetings happen at 7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at the precinct, 37-05 Union Street in Flushing. Call the precinct at 718-321-2268 for information.

The City Council district where Allison Liao was killed is represented by Peter Koo, who likes public plazas but has said be believes safe street infrastructure belongs in the suburbs. To encourage Koo to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7022 or pkoo@council.nyc.gov.