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Thread: Outrageous: Driver kills 3-year-old in Queens, DMV voids his tickets

  1. #1
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Default Outrageous: Driver kills 3-year-old in Queens, DMV voids his tickets

    Driver Kills 3-Year-Old In Queens, DMV Voids His Tickets


    Via Facebook

    [UPDATE BELOW] Just over a year ago, 3-year-old Allison Liao waskilled by an SUV driver while crossing a street with her grandmother in Flushing, Queens. Liao was holding her grandmothers hand, the two were in the crosswalk and had the right of way. But that driver, Ahmad Abu-Zayedeha, was not criminally charged, merely issued summonses for failing to exercise due care and failing to yield to a pedestrian. And now the Department of Motor Vehicles has voided those traffic tickets.

    Allison's devastated father, Hsi-Pei Liao, shared the news on his Facebook page and Twitter account yesterday, and his attorney, Steve Vaccaro, confirmed to us that the tickets have been dropped. "The family is very angry that this driver has the luxury of being able to look in the mirror and tell himself the false tabloid version of how this crash happened," Vaccaro said. "This is absolutely shocking."

    Initial tabloid reports suggested that at around 5:30 p.m. on October 6th, 2013, Allison was crossing Main Street in Flushing with her grandmother when she broke free and ran unaccompanied into the path of Abu-Zayedeha's vehicle. But a graphic video obtained by the Liaos' attorney shows Allison and her grandmother crossing hand-in-hand with the light when Abu-Zayedeha makes a left-hand turn, first striking the grandmother before running over Allison's body with his front wheel, and head with his rear wheel. Allison died at New York Hospital Queens. You can see the collision in the embedded video below, starting at 1:55:
    Liao Family Testimony in Support of 19-190 and Crash Video from Vaccaro and White on Vimeo.

    "Allie was spending the day with her grandmother, and they walked to a market two-and-a-half blocks from grandmother's house to buy a watermelon, because Allie wanted a watermelon," Vaccaro said. "The video shows them walking the last block of Allie's life, hand-in-hand with the grandmother while the grandmother held the watermelon bag. They make it half way across Main Street when the driver makes a left turn right into them. He literally sucks Allie out of her grandmother's hand, knocking the grandmother to ground."

    Allie's grandmother was not seriously injured, but Vaccaro says she has not recovered from that day. "The grandmother is absolutely devastated and traumatized. She's disabled from leaving her home, and taking all kinds of medications to be able to sleep and function minimally. She blames herself terribly for this, which was in no way her fault but is totally understandable given circumstances."

    At the hearing yesterday, Abu-Zayedeha testified under oath that Allison had run into the path of his car. "The idea that this driver can adopt the media version because it makes him feel better, but doesn't have the balls to look at this video is outrageous," Vaccaro said.

    The tickets were thrown out by an administrative law judge, even though police officers from the Collision Investigation Squad who collected the surveillance video and issued the summonses—which carry fines of up to $150 each, according to the DMV—argued in support of them. Families are not invited to these hearings and are not given access to them.

    "The thought that the tabloid media version, which is demonstrably false, would be in essence confirmed by this outrageous decision by an administrative law judge at the DMV is almost too much to bear for the Liaos," Vaccaro said. Abu-Zayedeha, who had been drinking before the collision but was within the legal-drinking limit, said in his sworn testimony that he had been driving a block-and-half to pick up his wife and his toddler son from dinner before striking Allison and her grandmother. "He said it was inconvenient to use stroller to transport his two-year-old son a block and half, so a three year old was killed," Vaccaro said.

    .@NYSDMV voided both traffic tickets issued to the driver who killed Allison Liao https://t.co/VlcaknJqdt #VisionZeropic.twitter.com/nQDpuIwsIp
    — Keegan Stephan (@KeeganNYC) November 7, 2014
    Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives is calling for the removal of DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala. "This is an outrageous injustice to the family of Allison Liao, and to all New Yorkers," president Paul Steely White said in a statement today. "The two summonses were already a mere slap on the wrist for the driver who failed to yield and killed Allison Liao when she was in the crosswalk with the light, hand-in-hand with her grandmother. Now the State Department of Motor Vehicles has decided the deadly driver who muscled his way through that crosswalk doesn't even deserve such a paltry sanction."

    Earlier this year, City Council Member Mark Weprin watched the video showing Allison's last moments. "It was so graphic,” he told reporters, according to Streetsblog. “It could happen to anyone. Some driver not paying attention can just snuff out a life just like that.” Weprin, who advocated for Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative, has not yet responded to our request for comment.

    The Liaos are currently pursuing a civil claim against the driver, and they've asked the DMV to hold a hearing on his license. No criminal action has been taken against him. The DMV has not responded to request for comment.

    Update 1:04 p.m.: The DMV has issued the following statement:
    The summonses that were issued by law enforcement to Ahmad Abu-Zayedeha as a result of an accident on October 6, 2013 were for “Failing to Use Due Care” and “Failing to Yield to a Pedestrian.” If a person is found guilty of those violations, the penalty is a fine of up to $150.00 for each violation. Mr. Abu-Zayedeha was found not guilty and those tickets were dismissed on July 1, 2014. No criminal charges were brought by the Queens District Attorney as a result of the accident. However, whenever a fatal accident occurs anywhere in the state, the DMV schedules a special safety hearing. That hearing for Mr. Abu-Zayedeha has been set for January 6. At that time, a determination will be made if Mr. Abu-Zayedeha has any culpability for the accident on October 6 that would result in any action being taken with regard to his driver license based on the Vehicle and Traffic law. DMV is an administrative agency and has no authority with regard to law enforcement or criminal prosecution.



  2. #2
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    What the f**k!! So what if she had actually broken free from her grandmother?! Pedestrians had right of way!! What the hell is the media's (I use that term loosely here) agenda here. Why report such shite?!

    And then for that driver to conveniently claim the same thing?! He should've stopped full stop. What's the point of having a right of way law if it's not enforced when an innocent person is killed? The penalties are farcical.

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    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    That was what he claimed but video proof showed that the girl did not run loose. She was mowed down while still holding onto her grandmother's hand.

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    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    ^ Yes, I was just posing the question of what if she had. The point being, either way, it shouldn't make any difference.

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    Who should I write to to express my concern regarding this issue and to urge further investigation of this incident? A local politician? My Congressman? A newspaper editorial? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Democracy is not a spectator sport. I want to make my voice heard.

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    The DMV commissioner that dismissed the tickets for the driver is Barbara Fiala. She was appointed to that position by Governor Andrew Cuomo. You should send a letter to Cuomo urging him to remove her from her position. I would also send a letter to the Queens District Attorney asking him why he did not pursue charges against the guy.

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    By her actions regarding this case and her own driving record and that of her family (her son pleaded guilty to drunken driving charges in a hit-and-run of a cyclist), DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala shows why she sides with the driver and have contempt for non-drivers.

    This is probably the most unfit person to be leading a NY State agency. She needs to be disgracefully removed from her post.

    http://www.pressconnects.com/story/n...cket/17655417/

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the tip about writing to Gov. Cuomo.
    Last edited by LeCom; November 22nd, 2014 at 10:22 AM.

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