Gothamist: “Will Banning Big Trucks Make Canal Street Less Deadly?”

Hsi-Pei Liao, who learned last week that the DMV had voided tickets issued to the driver who killed his 3-year-old daughter and injured his mother in Queens last year was on hand.  “We just want justice for what happened,” Liao said. “It’s very hard for us to be here and talk about our family’s death and tragedy. But the system is broken.”

Liao and his family were not even notified of the driver’s July DMV hearing. Their attorney, Steve Vaccaro, said the police officers involved in investigating the crash were present. “But we don’t know what exactly they said, and if they were permitted to show the videotape to the judge,” Vaccaro said. “The NYPD should have been there with knowledgable officers with a copy of the videotape to show it to the judge. It’s hard for me to believe that any person can watch that videotape and not have reached the conclusion that the driver failed to use due care.”

iao said he was shocked by the way the Queens District Attorney’s office handled the case. “There’s a whole feeling that [prosecutors] are on the driver’s side,” Liao told us. “If it’s a hit-and-run or a DWI, they will prosecute. Beyond that, if someone drives recklessly, they don’t want to do anything. The driver killed my daughter, but the District Attorney was searching for reasons to defend him, saying, ‘Maybe the driver had a blind spot?’ There’s a feeling of being victimized multiple times. First my child died, then they tell us it’s not the driver’s fault, then, by the way, the little tickets that were given out? They’re going to be dismissed. It’s multiple layers of pain every time.”

Speaking to reporters over the rush hour din, Vaccaro shouted, “I’m going to speak louder because of the traffic noise but also because I’m so angry. There are plenty of laws on the books and nothing’s enforced. It is so upsetting to be here again and hear about more deaths. How many occur at intersections like this? Every week, every month, year after year.

“Who decided to put this traffic sewer running through this vibrant neighborhood? Who decided that we should have this truck traffic here, for cars and trucks that don’t want to pay a toll. Councilmember Chin has a great idea: we should be looking at whether truck routes like this, that feel like an interstate and are treated like an interstate by the drivers, should be coming through neighborhoods like this.”

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