In New York City, if you hit someone with a motor vehicle and keep driving, odds are you will get away with it. NYPD made arrests in just 25 percent of fatal hit-and-run crashes in 2012, according to Transportation Alternatives. And in many cases where the driver is eventually identified, a simple “I didn’t see her” is all it takes to satisfy prosecutors and police.
On December 1, a truck driver hit Wendy Ruther and nearly ran over her young son, Justin, as the pair walked to Justin’s preschool. The two were in a crosswalk at W. 65th Street and Broadway, DNAinfo reported, when the driver made a right turn, hit them both, and continued south on Broadway. CBS reports that NYPD has yet to make an arrest, and Wendy Ruther remains hospitalized with serious injuries.
“She recalls feeling the three wheels of the truck going over her,” said the woman’s husband, Aldo Lombardi.
The hit-and-run accident, steps away from Lincoln Center, a week ago Monday nearly killed her.
“She still cannot believe she is alive,” Aldo Lombardi said.
Wendy Lombardi has a crushed leg, a fractured pelvis, and a deep gash near her eye. The injuries came as she managed to save the life of her 3-year-old son Justin.
“He recalls being hit by a big wheel,” Aldo Lombardi said. “Wendy managed to push him off of danger.”
CBS says Aldo Lombardi “was told that the Lincoln Center security cameras at the scene were pointing the wrong way,” and “no one got a close look” at the driver. “I would ask him to come forward,” Lombardi said. “I would like him not to be on the streets.”
It seems that in Manhattan, at least, NYPD and vehicular crimes prosecutors have a powerful tool to help catch hit-and-run drivers, and collect evidence for other traffic crash cases. The recent New York Times profile of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance described a web of video surveillance cameras spanning the borough, with access at investigators’ fingertips.