The driver of a private dump truck accused of killing an elderly woman in Hell’s Kitchen Tuesday has been charged with leaving the scene.
Shu Ying Liu, 69, was crossing 41st Street at Ninth Avenue at around 10:00 a.m. yesterday when she was hit by Jack Montelbano, who was making a right turn from Ninth to 41st, according to reports. The Times reported that Montelbano, of Bayonne, was alerted to the collision by witnesses but continued driving. He was tracked down in New Jersey and brought back to the city by police, who questioned and arrested him.
Liu, who lived on West 54th St., was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt.
If Montelbano were versed on New York traffic law, he could have saved himself a lot of trouble. Minus the presence of intoxicants, deadly reckless driving is rarely prosecuted in New York, and assuming he possesses a valid license and was sober at the time of the crash, the odds that Montelbano would have been allowed on his way after a cursory NYPD investigation are close to 100 percent.
Even now, though indications are that Liu had a walk signal, at this point Montelbano reportedly faces no charges for killing her. (The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance was not ready to confirm charges at this writing.) If he pleads not guilty to leaving the scene, and goes to trial, there’s a chance he’ll walk away with nothing more than a bill for attorney fees.
This fatal crash occurred in the 10th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Elisa Cokkinos, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 10th Precinct council meetings happen at 7 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month at the precinct, 230 West 20th St. Call 212-741-8226 for information.
The City Council district where Shu Ying Liu was killed is represented by Speaker Christine Quinn, who has yet to take a position on NYPD crash investigation reforms. To encourage Quinn to take action to improve street safety in her district and citywide, contact her at 212-564-7757 or @ChrisCQuinn.