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    Scott Lindsey

    Immaterial? What if I don’t bother to get a learn how to pilot, steal a plane, and then accidentally fly it into your house and kill someone? Would a $400 fine take care of that?

    The licensing process is intended to teach people how to drive a car. It may not succeed in doing that, but if you can’t even be bothered to do it and then you run someone down, you should not be given the smallest available punishment.



    Revoke license? If you kill or seriously injure in NYC with an automobile, you should loose your license to drive.



    Mayor de Blasio will issue a statement on this injustice as soon as he’s done fulfilling the wish of wealthy campaign donors by banning carriage horses over the objections of the majority of New Yorkers.



    Hard to imagine going this whole hearing with no one with the presence of mind to ask the commissioner whether taxi-caused crashes/injuries/fatalities are up or down this year.



    WAIT. WHAT?!?!


    Brad Aaron

    That was reported, but the Daily News said that, according to police and a witness, she wasn’t trying to leave the scene. The witness said she was scared by a crowd of people coming toward her, and moved away from them.

    For what that’s worth.



    Didn’t I hear that the driver tried to flee the scene on foot, before being dragged back by one of the parents? Was that wrong, or does that not count as leaving the scene?



    We don’t live in a tribal region of Pakistan

    Of course not. We’re too civilized to put people in jail for behaving recklessly and killing other people. Giving people minor fines for homicide is what civilized countries do, obviously.

    I can only hope that you if made an honest-to-god mistake that tragically resulted in someone’s death you’d be singing the same tune.

    I’m kind of curious if you’ve ever hit someone with your car (or come close to doing so), because your reflexive opposition to the idea of criminal liability for someone who broke the law and killed another person is really bizarre to me.

    This was not a “tragic accident.” An accident would be something beyond the driver’s control. Driving carelessly was a conscious decision, and this was entirely preventable on his part.

    I can only hope that you if made an honest-to-god mistake that tragically resulted in someone’s death you’d be singing the same tune.

    I can only hope that if you or one of your loved ones was hospitalized or killed by a careless driver, you’d be singing the same tune.


    Mark Walker

    Sidewalks around schools, routes to school, and other sensitive areas should be protected by bollards. And not plastic ones — heavy metal bollards with real car-stopping, child-protecting power. The honor system isn’t working.



    The driver DID intentionally break the law the moment he got behind the wheel without a valid license, you self-important ass.


    Brad Aaron

    Thanks for the lesson.


    Doug G.

    You seem to be arguing things no one is arguing.


    Brad Aaron

    “Manslaughter: the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or otherwise in circumstances not amounting to murder.”

    This is a legal concept in the U.S.



    And he was punished for driving with a suspended DL. Much to your dismay, the justice system in this country does not incarcerate people for the sake of punishing them or to even the score. I’ve had enough explaining to the pseudo-lawyer peanut gallery, I’m going to get back to work.


    Doug G.

    What is an honest-to-god mistake about operating a machine without a valid license, when it is widely known that having a valid license is a prerequisite for operating such a machine?

    That he didn’t intend to kill anyone AFTER deciding to illegally operate a vehicle is what’s immaterial.



    Driving around without a valid license is immaterial to whether or not he intentionally struck the woman with his car. We don’t live in a tribal region of Pakistan, I can only hope that you if made an honest-to-god mistake that tragically resulted in someone’s death you’d be singing the same tune.


    Doug G.

    I’m happy to go back to Google and post about 1,000 more examples of cases very similar to this one here in NYC where criminal charges were filed.

    This case involved an unlicensed driver hitting someone with the right of way. Intent has nothing to do with it, hence the existence of potential charges such as involuntary manslaughter, etc.

    Not every case involves criminal wrongdoing, that is true. But when Vance can’t be bothered to find criminal wrongdoing in case after case after case, there’s something very wrong going on at the DA’s office.



    The case you posted involved a hit-and-run and the driver dragging the poor guy on her car for 1.5 miles. The driver did not intentionally hit her, was not under the influence of anything, and stopped immediately to check on him. Accidents happen, that doesn’t mean there’s criminal wrongdoing.


    Doug G.

    I’m comparing the logic of saying “just let a civil case figure it out” to any other crime. We apparently don’t apply that to most other things society deems illegal or unacceptable. And since we apply criminal charges to far less reprehensible acts, the fact that Vance doesn’t here is all the more galling.


    Doug G.

    Involuntary manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide might apply. We put people in jail for that all the time. Other cities and states frequently apply that charge to car crashes.–285887581.html

    And, no, I don’t have info. But that’s often the point of an investigation and/or a trial: to gather and examine all of the evidence.

    Putting him in jail a) stops a killer driver from potentially killing again and b) sends a message that society doesn’t tolerate such deadly carelessness.


    Brad Aaron

    Putting him in jail would ensure he doesn’t kill any more people while driving illegally. In fact it’s the only way.

    He may not have meant to run Ms. Ohnishi over, but he admitted to intentionally driving without a valid license. And if he hadn’t done that she wouldn’t have been killed.



    The driver intentionally broke the law, too. Maybe he didn’t mean to kill someone, but me intentionally took actions that had a reasonable chance of killing someone (making a turn without watching where he was going or checking for pedestrians.) He had no reasonable excuse for killing this elderly woman- it was broad daylight, and she had the right of way – and ideally, he should be facing jail time. The fact that he is paying a token fee for breaking the law and killing someone is just another example of how the US does not care about traffic safety.

    I agree that comparing this situation to theft is stupid. Theft is bad, but driving carelessly and putting peoples’ lives in danger is much more reprehensible.



    The case is tragic, but unless you have info we don’t, he did not intentionally run her down. Putting him in jail will not fix anything. Comparing it to stealing is foolish as the thief is intentionally breaking the law.



    Cab and livery drivers should have a NYC on-grid road test where the cab drivers have a TLC person in the front seat with them monitoring how they pick up, transport and discharge passengers. The test should be administered not only as a requirement for getting a hack license, but also as an in-service for drivers on the road. The program should be paid for by a surcharge levied on medallion/livery license owners.



    If Keiko Ohnishi had been physically capable of doing the “Vance Dance,” she’d probably be alive today: fake right, fake left, then do a complete 180.


    Doug G.

    If Aaron had killed someone while running a red light, he should have gone through a thorough prosecution initiated by the district attorney using evidence collected in a criminal investigation. That’s all anyone is asking for in cases where drivers kill.

    Letting things play out in a civil suit is not how society protects innocents. Imagine if DAs turned a blind eye toward theft and used the same logic, that the victim’s family could just sue the robber for the value of whatever was stolen. That’s not justice. Nor does it send a message to society that larceny is unacceptable. It just says it’s a private matter between individuals to work out. Is that what we want?


    Zach Neal



    Illegal alien?



    Sure, but under the fourteenth amendment, Ms Ohnishi had a constitutional right to equal protection under the law, which I think you could argue she did not get from DA Vance. For the rest of us, we get left with the danger that a killer stays on the street. I don’t know if you cross the street ever, but I do, from time to time, and it boggles my mind that an unlicensed driver could plead down to $400 for killing someone.



    Kristin is a guy? There ought to be a couple of hundred in fines for his folks for that.



    Yeah, a 25-year-old driver with North Carolina plates–a gold mine, for sure. Gotta have great insurance and a ton of assets to go after. Why oh why didn’t Streetsblog mention this all-too-obvious truth?



    Who says the driver will get away with just paying $400? The driver can be sued for a lot of money. Omitting that fact is dishonest.

    No, it’s not. The outcome of a hypothetical civil lawsuit does not detract one bit from the negligence of the prosecutor.



    Who says the driver will get away with just paying $400? The driver can be sued for a lot of money. Omitting that fact is dishonest. Furthermore, a founder of this web site, Aaron Naperstek, recently admitted on his Twitter that he got a traffic cam ticket for crashing a red light in Queens. Wow. What the hell is he, of all people, doing crashing red lights? That is one of the most dangerous and reckless traffic violations a person can commit. I ask the commenters: How many years in prison should Aaron Naperstek have gotten had he harmed someone while crashing that red light?



    Sounds like another crap bike violation. I had one of these stupid ones last year too. I fought it in traffic court and the cop actually showed up for this. Judge threw out 3 of the 4 violations and made me pay a 50 dollar fine. Next day I started jumping the fare in the subways everyday until the 50 dollar fine was paid and my cost of missing a day’s work to fight this stupid thing. All told my total cost was 300 which was calculated as follows. 50 dollar fine. 240 for missing work for the day, 5 dollars to go to Coney Island to fight this. Food for day 4 dollars, Envelope and stamp 1 dollar. OK the State of New York ended up getting my 50 dollars but for 3 plus months I took it right back from the State of New York/MTA by fare evasion. In the end of the day the State of New York ended up losing 300 dollars. I did not lose. So there. Now we are even State of New York.



    Jeez, he needs a better tailor. It looks like his clothes were shot onto him out of a cannon.


    interceptor III

    You know what else fuels the ‘cycling as menace’ perception? Riding a bike anywhere ever. I voice my objections to salmon daily, but they don’t get bike lanes pulled out. Political cowards and idiots do.

    I found it particularly amusing that Mr. Persaud requested that the city put up “new signs to let customers know they can park in the bike lane and also make the police department aware…” As a New Yorker I wonder about this mystical land that requires signage instructing motorists and police that it’s okay to park in the bike lane! The star ledger should go blow a red light.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    It’s neither hidden nor a tax. It’s a penalty for bad behaviour about which everyone would be well informed.

    But even accepting momentarily for the sake of argument the meritless assertion that speed cameras constitute a “tax”, this would be a tax designed to discourage behaviour that we want to see less of. Someone who does not want to pay this “tax” can exempt himself/herself simply by not speeding.

    This is a perfectly appropriate reason for a tax. The community benefits either way: if the deprecated behaviour diminishes, then we get the health or safety benefit; if the miscreants continue misbehaving, then our public coffers get a boost.

    But, of course, it’s not a tax. We should note that the miseducated use the word “tax” as a kind of slur, with the obvious implication that there is something illegitimate about taxes. The civilised, by contrast, do not mind paying taxes in return for services and infrastructure.

    It’s possible for reasonable people to disagree on how the revenue collected through taxes ought to be used. But it is not possible rationally to disagree about whether taxation is inherently legitimate. It is. End of story. Anyone who fails to accept this truth has no place in a serious discussion.



    Thank you, Dana Lerner.



    Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Honored With 2014 “Prosecutor of the Year” Award – Tackled huge disability case and sought no-fault reform



    Hidden right behind the speed limit sign. Read it. Follow it. Beat the scam! NYC Safety win :)


    Aunt Bike

    I heard that if you repeat stuff like that over and over it becomes true. But not in NYC, only in Jersey and Long Island.


    NYC Safety

    Speed Scameras are bad for everyone.Its a hidden tax.


    Michael Cohen

    Bring back weregild!



    Same in LA. “I didn’t see him/her!” is ALWAYS a get-out-of-jail free card, accepted at face value by the authorities.


    Kevin Love

    Nobody catches the All-Powerful Bike Lobby!


    Kevin Love

    What big trouble? If you consider a $400 fine to be “big trouble” for killing someone I would be curious to know what you consider an appropriate penalty for killing someone.



    Can’t the insurance company deny the claim at that point because the policy was obtained fraudulently? Then the other driver involved in the collision has to have their insurance pay for the damage, driving up costs for those that insure in NYC. Though many register their cars in states that don’t require insurance, so the issue doesn’t come up on their end. Colorado is getting registration and title fees without the burden of a car on their roads. Why would they complain?


    sick of this

    Most people understand the benefits of and want a residential parking permit program. It’s a few state lawmakers from southern Brooklyn who wanted their friends to continue to be able park for free in downtown Brooklyn that blocked it the last time the idea came up. (Of course, those lawmakers and their friends would undoubtedly have been able to obtain real or bogus placards that would allow them to ignore the permitting scheme anyway.)



    And the driver isn’t even a police officer.



    It was only $100, but I got a citation in that amount for not wearing my seatbelt. How the eff is a human life worth only 4 times that?