Vaccaro & White Lawyer Representing Family of Crash Victim Mathieu Lefevre
Steve Vaccaro is representing the parents of Mathieu Lefevre, a 30-year-old artist tragically killed by a truck driver while cycling in Williamsburg, in litigation against the NYPD to ensure a full and fair investigation of the crash. Read about the NYPD’s handling of the investigation into Mathieu’s death in the article by Jim Dwyer of the New York Times below, and watch Transportation Alternatives’ Noah Budnick speak about the NYPD and the Lefevre case on “Inside City Hall,” linked here.
The Lefevres — mother, father and one of their surviving sons — took the first flight to New York, spent the night with a friend, and the next morning went directly to the city morgue on Winthrop Street in Brooklyn. The second of the Lefevre sons, Mathieu, 30, had been run over by a truck two days earlier, just after midnight on Oct. 19, while he was biking home to Williamsburg. The truck did not stop.
His parents looked at pictures, then the remains, under a sheet. “The detective at the morgue told us to go to the 90th Precinct to do two things,” said Erika Lefevre, Mathieu’s mother. “A detective there would be able to give us an accident report, and we would be able to get our son’s personal effects.”
Before they left, the police detective at the morgue also told the Lefevres, who are from Canada, that they would need a lawyer; she gave them a business card. “We didn’t quite understand how the legal system worked in the United States,” Ms. Lefevre said. “We thought we would get a police report, that the information would be in the report, and we would proceed from there.”
“The detective gave us the card as a polite gesture,” she added. “I think she wanted to help us. We discarded it. We didn’t think this was a procedure we had to do.”
The 90th Precinct station house proved to be a House of No, as Ms. Lefevre described it: the family was told at the desk that there was no detective available to speak with them, that Mr. Lefevre’s property was not there and that no report on the accident was available.
So they waited.
“After some time elapsed, I called the detective at the morgue, who had given us her phone number in case we ran into problems,” Ms. Lefevre said. Eventually, a detective in the 90th Precinct explained that the person handling the investigation of their son’s death would not be back for several days. “The detective we saw said he had no access to the information, that they do not share files,” Ms. Lefevre said.
After four hours, she said, they left.
More people are killed in traffic accidents than by guns in New York City; death by motor vehicle is rarely treated as a crime. Someone died in city traffic every 29 hours, on average, from 2005 to 2009, according to a study by the city’s health and transportation departments. While New York has a stellar record compared with other big cities in the United States and has drastically improved in the last decade, the rate of traffic fatalities is far worse than in many major cities in Europe, according to another study, by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
Read the entire article here