No Justice For Traffic Crash Victim Thanks To Botched NYPD Investigation
Driver Who Struck And Killed Clara Heyworth Goes Free
Today, Brooklyn District Court Judge Desmond Green declined to sentence Anthony Webb to 15 days in jail for hitting and killing Clara Heyworth while driving in July of 2011. The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office's decided not to press serious criminal charges.
"Today's decision is another example of what happens when the NYPD fails to prioritize crash investigations," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "In Clara Heyworth's case, the NYPD failed to collect evidence for four days. Without that critical evidence, the driver who struck and killed Clara walks free. Everyone, except Ray Kelly's NYPD, agrees this is unacceptable. That is the why we support the City Council's effort to create a Traffic Safety Task Force that would recommend improvements to crash investigations."
Anthony Webb is suspected of having been speeding and drunk when he struck and killed Clara Heyworth with his car. Webb only held a learner's permit and may have been driving in violation of restrictions on his license. The NYPD delayed critical aspects of the investigation until at least four days after Heyworth's death, which resulted in the destruction of evidence that may have led to Webb's conviction. The NYPD only investigates about ten percent of the approximately 3,000 traffic crashes that result in serious injury, despite the fact that state law requires that all serious injury crashes be investigated.
The Crash Investigation Reform Act, introduced by Council Members Lander and Vacca, would assess the current state of affairs of the City's traffic safety enforcement and crash investigation efforts -- the agencies involved, their budgets, funding sources, mandates, successes and setbacks -- and identify the most effective ways to save lives, ensure justice and drive the number of people killed and seriously injured in traffic down to zero. The Task Force would prioritize safety on our streets and help ensure that New Yorkers get the enforcement and investigations they deserve.
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