Gothamist covers the NYPD’s failure to investigate a car-on-bike hit-and-run and the broader problem with NYPD crash investigations.
A 37-year-old cyclist who was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver in Bushwick early last month is still waiting for the NYPD to interview her alleged assailant. The entire incident was caught on surveillance tape, a witness has corroborated the victim’s story, and the car has been traced to its owner. But over a month after the crash, while the victim was hospitalized and lost thousands of dollars in wages, no charges have been filed—when she and her attorney last spoke with the NYPD, they were told the car’s owner would be interviewed if police “had the time.”
According to a civil complaint filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court last week, at around 11:00 p.m. on August 7th, 37-year-old Dulcie Canton was biking with a friend southbound on Bleecker Street near the Knickerbocker M stop in Bushwick. When she neared Wilson Avenue, she was struck by the operator of a 2013 Chevrolet who was also traveling southbound. The complaint states that after striking Canton, the driver failed to stop the vehicle or slow down.
The side-view mirror on the passenger side of the Chevrolet broke off when Canton was hit, and according to the complaint, Canton and her attorney, Steve Vaccaro, were able to identify the car’s owner as Richard Rivera, Jr., who lived a few blocks from the site of the collision. “His car was parked about a block or two away from the accident,” Canton said.
Vaccaro sent three letters to Detective Tallerine, the 83rd Precinct officer assigned to Canton’s case over the past month requesting that he question Rivera; he says he never received a written response from the detective regarding those requests, and when he last spoke with him, the detective told Vaccaro he would interview Rivera, “If I have the time.”
Canton and Vaccaro initially refrained from contacting Rivera’s insurance company before the NYPD interviewed so as to not alert him to an impending investigation and give him an opportunity to repair his vehicle and destroy evidence. But since the NYPD had not interviewed the suspect as of September 3rd, they way they were forced to file a claim last week.
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