Today’s news:

Wrongful death suit in ‘Vespa Mom’ crash

for The Brooklyn Paper

A Fort Greene man whose wife was run down by a Treasury Department agent while she rode her Vespa last July intends to sue the department to hold it responsible for his wife’s death.

Michael Dalton filed a notice of claim against the federal government, giving the feds six months to settle the case before the wrongful-death suit goes forward.

“I want some measure of justice for myself and my kids,” the husband, Michael Dalton, told the Daily News, which first reported the story

Dalton quit his job at Barclays to take care of the couple’s daughter and two sons after the accident at DeKalb and Clinton avenues last July 8, when his wife, Aileen McKay-Dalton was struck by a Ford SUV while riding her powder-blue scooter. The SUV was being driven by a Treasury Department agent named Joel Murphy. Two witnesses said that he ran a red light, and another witness said Murphy was speeding.

The NYPD originally called the crash an accident, but District Attorney Charles Hynes reopened the case after neighbors, friends and family of the dead woman complained.

But Hynes’s investigation also determined that Murphy was not criminally negligent. In the end, all he received for the death was a single NYPD traffic summons.

“We did a very thorough investigation,” DA spokesman Jerry Schmetterer told The Brooklyn Paper.

Murphy — who hasn’t returned calls to his Louisiana home — didn’t show up at a separate state safety hearing in April about the matter, at which three witnesses testified.

Another hearing is set for July.

If a wrongful death suit is eventually filed, the Treasury Department — not Murphy — will be on trial, as Murphy was allegedly travelling in an official capacity when he hit Dalton. The United States Attorney for the Eastern District will defend the agency.

“From the time of the accident the U.S. government took all appropriate action in evaluating the tragedy,” said Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor.

But Dalton wondered if Murphy felt like he had impunity because he worked for the government.

“Is it because as a federal agent he felt he didn’t have to obey the law?” he asked.

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Reader Feedback

LOLcat from Park Slope says:
Ran a red lot and STILL not criminally negligent? Give me a ——ing break. Now taxpayers get to foot the bill for this crime. What happened to personal responsibility?
June 25, 2011, 7:39 pm
gimme from around says:
vespas and bicycles in NYC, when riding here you are rolling the dice with your life, just know that before you take off down the street
June 26, 2011, 4:24 pm
mike from GP says:
@gimme: true to some extent, but it doesn't have to be that way.
June 26, 2011, 7:30 pm
gotham from williamsburg says:
@gimme: Traffic laws, red lights exist for a reason. If some jackass runs a light whether you are in a car, on a scooter, on a bicycle, or walking your life is in jeopardy if you are hit by the vehicle running the red light.

You can make the statement that you are taking you are taking your life into your own hands if riding on something on two wheels but that doesn't account for drivers breaking the law.

The agent should have been criminally negligent for running the light and mowing this woman down.
June 27, 2011, 8:53 am
Dr. Francis from Clinton Hill says:
As both a bicyclist and a driver in Brooklyn, I have seen that nobody respects the traffic rules--bikes, cars, pedestrians all included.

People need to realize they are not in some rural town. They need to be cautious, drive carefully and pay attention.

This is sad, and seems like the driver blowing the red light should be held responsible for what they did. But I guess the police are always above the law in NYC.
June 27, 2011, 4:38 pm
Danny from Crown Heights says:
Dr. Francis,

Most people I see on the road may not respect the rules, but generally respect each other. But there is a small percentage of douchebags that ruin it for the majority of normal people that know how to interact without killing each other.
June 28, 2011, 9:46 am
Steve from Bklyn says:
If the law says you have to observe traffic signals and the speed limit and you ignore both and kill someone in the process, that's criminal negligence.

The possible consequence of running a red light is killing someone. Anyone who is licensed to drive knows this and should be held responsible if they willfully ignore the law.

My condolences to the family. I support your efforts to seek justice.
June 28, 2011, 11:46 am
Bruno from Honestville says:
"“We did a very thorough investigation,” DA spokesman Jerry Schmetterer told The Brooklyn Paper."

So what, they still allowed a criminal to literally get away with murder. Charles Hynes, queens resident and sadly for bklyn it's DA is a pathtic joke giving free passes to all his criminal cop buddies. Funny how they could prosecute a black woman when she ran over a well connected politically girl with ABSOLUTELY NO HARD EVIDENCE SHE WAS DRIVING AT ALL, as oposed to this ase with witnesses who could confirm crimanl negligence, but not when a federal agent kills a woman. I guess Charles Hynes, like most Breezy Point residents is just another racist DA.
Feb. 21, 2012, 1:08 pm

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