By: Charles Lee
We at the firm of Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP, can agree with victims of motor vehicle and bicycle accidents on how dangerous the streets of New York City can be. John Kelly, a resident of Astoria N.Y, was struck by a van not once, but twice, where the driver insisted on fleeing the scene of 35th Street at 30th Avenue.
Michelle Islas, one of the four witnesses on the Saturday afternoon in Astoria, saw a man on his bike when a “van hits him once on the side- he tries to keep his balance, but the van kept going into the bike lane and hit him again. He was holding onto the windshield wipers and screaming but the van kept going.”
You read right. A textbook hit and run, after the police arrived the victim believed that “at the end of the questioning, they said that it’s not likely that they’re gonna be able to get this guy, because the company that owns the this van may or may not give up this driver; they could say it was stolen. So the police said my best option was to try and sue the owner of the van to pay for the property damage, but that may cost more than the bike is worth.”
We can all agree that this crime is almost like a snapshot of an action movie in a New York City backdrop. Kelly, who was fortunately not seriously injured, was led to rely on the driver’s windshield wipers who the driver, “just stared at me the whole time I was hanging on the hood and shouting. He just had this angry look on his face. It was really disconcerting.”
Can you imagine how astonished witnesses to this scene were? Timely for Kelly, another witness who was in a 35th street apartment-Liane Gustafson- recalls shouting from her apartment, “People on the street were screaming at the guy in a navy blue van, telling him to stop. One man ran over and started banging on the van’s window, and the victim is just holding onto the van, until he managed to get out of the way, and the van ran over his bike and sped off.”
Not only are Kelly’s $1,700 bike ruined along with minor scratches on his body, Kelly despite having four witnesses to the scene, is not yet able to reclaim the damage and pain the hit-and-run driver inflicted.