Clara Heyworth

Gothamist: NYPD Sued For Sloppy Investigation Of Pedestrian’s Death In Fort Greene

The Vaccaro & White lawsuits alleges that there is systemic problems in how the accident investigation squad operates. The suit aims to change NYPD policy.  

Just before 2 a.m. on July 10th, 2011, Jacob Stevens, a managing director at Verso Books, was waiting for his wife Clara Heyworth to cross Brooklyn’s Vanderbilt Avenue to meet him. The couple had been happily married for a year and half—Heyworth, 28, met Stevens while working at Verso Books’ London office, and they lived together in the Fort Greene, a neighborhood Heyworth loved. That all ended once Heyworth stepped off the sidewalk—the next thing Stevens remembers, he was kneeling by his wife as she lay bleeding on Vanderbilt Avenue. She’d been hit by a driver named Anthony Webb, 43, who was driving with a learner’s permit that prohibited him from operating the vehicle without supervision. Criminal charges were never filed, and now Stevens is suing Webb—and the NYPD for failing to properly investigate the crash.

Stevens’s lawsuit, which is being filed this morning, seeks compensatory damages from Webb and the city, and alleges that the NYPD’s investigative failure is systemic. Stevens tells us, “I’m suing NYPD because I think that their policy of not investigating most road injuries and many deaths is inhumane and illegal, and my hope is that the lawsuit will contribute to changing this policy. I hope that there is a full hearing in court, so that we can have a public discussion of this policy and how it worked in Clara’s case—once more people understand NYPD’s policy, I think there will be more pressure to change it.”

There’s a rally at City Hall this morning to announce the lawsuit, and groups such asTransportation Alternatives are calling on NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly “to change the NYPD’s policies and procedures in order to guarantee justice for New Yorkers who suffer from traffic violence.” At this morning’s rally, Stevens intends to read this statement, which we’re publishing here in its entirety:

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