Trial of Bus Driver in Fatal Accident to be Delayed
By now, the case involving a bus driver who was charged with a crime after a fatal accident under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan was supposed to have gone to trial. But that trial was put on hold as of late February, prompting speculation that prosecutors would soon drop it altogether.
A Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) bus driver was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, February 24 on a misdemeanor charge of “failure to yield.” However, prosecutors and the defense lawyer for the bus driver’s union agreed that they would neither proceed with a formal reading of charges nor require the bus driver to follow the customary practice of entering a plea.
Brooklyn prosecutors only said that the case was still under investigation. What is known is that the driver was operating a B44 bus along Farragut Road in East Flatbush when he turned on to New York Avenue and struck a 78-year-old man named Jean Bonne-Annee, who was pronounced dead from his injuries at the scene. The crash occurred on December 23, 2014.
“Failure to yield” was changed from a traffic infraction to a criminal misdemeanor under the “Right of Way” stipulation of the Vision Zero plan. A spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio says that the new rules make the city’s streets safer for pedestrians, but MTA union officials have roundly criticized the law, saying that it unfairly makes bus drivers criminals even in accidents that do not involve reckless driving. Since last summer, 20 different MTA drivers have been arrested on failure to yield charges as part of the new law.
It will be interesting to see what happens with this case, as the mayor’s office is strongly committed to its Vision Zero plan. If you are injured in a New York pedestrian accident, consult a skilled attorney with Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson.