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Dead cyclist’s family says trucker should be charged

The Brooklyn Paper
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The family of a cyclist killed by a truck driver in Williamsburg says newly obtained surveillance videos and police documents prove the man behind the wheel should be held responsible.

Erika Lefevre, whose son Mathieu died when a flatbed truck ran him over on Morgan Avenue last October, says new the information her family received after suing the NYPD for accident records shows the driver likely knew he hit something and the police department botched the investigation by failing to preserve key evidence or take photos at the scene.

“This driver is reckless and dangerous and should be held responsible for the harm he caused,” said Erika Lefevre. “The NYPD should take its responsibility to investigate crashes more seriously.”

The documents and security footage released by police indicate that truck driver Leonardo Degianni failed to signal while making a right turn at Meserole Street, the family alleges. Degianni struck Lefevre with the truck’s cab and ran him over with a front wheel before dragging the cyclist for 40 feet and his bike for 130 feet.

The trucker, who has claimed he didn’t realize he hit anything, left the scene after the collision.

Cops issued two traffic summonses against Degianni for failing to signal and failing to exercise due care, but the Lefevre family is urging Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to press criminal charges against the trucker for fleeing the scene of an accident or criminal negligence.

“The driver must have known something was wrong,” said the family’s attorney, Steve Vaccaro. “It is difficult for us to believe that the driver of the truck could drag a bicycle and a body so many feet and run over a body with a front driver’s side wheel without knowing it.”

The family of the deceased cyclist — a rising star in the North Brooklyn art scene — blasted the NYPD for not collecting evidence including blood observed on the truck’s bumper. The Lefevres, who live in Canada, also slammed the police force for including no photos from the crash scene in the case file, but including pictures of relatives of the victim who have criticized the NYPD for a perceived lax approach to the investigation.

The newly released documents infuriated cycling advocates.

“The NYPD’s investigation of Mathieu Lefevre’s death shows a disturbing disregard for the loss of life at the hands of dangerous drivers,” said Transportation Alternatives spokesman Mike Murphy. “For all New Yorkers to be safe from the threat of dangerous drivers, we need the NYPD to take traffic safety and enforcing the law seriously.”

Prosecutors will perform an independent review of Lefevre’s death, according to Vaccaro.

A police spokesman declined to comment.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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Reader Feedback

Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
The sad truth is that if this family was NYPD-connected, the driver would be locked up and facing years in prison.
Jan. 24, 2012, 8:37 am
manhatposeur from port lyn lakes park says:
Timeto go after the driver and start posting his photo all over the place and warning about him.
Jan. 24, 2012, 9:20 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
So you intend to right a wrong with a wrong? No. Time to paste the photos of the detectives and the precinct all over the place, and compel them to do their job. The driver did not fail to cooperate with the NYPD--it was on their end that the investigation collapsed. Of course, once the investigation rightly resumes the driver will face consequences, but he had no hand in botching this case. NYPD personnel who thwarted the investigation and then deliberately concealed files and material so as to avoid scrutiny should also face consequences.
Jan. 24, 2012, 9:27 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I'll quote from this article, since it explains it better:

“The NYPD’s investigation of Mathieu Lefevre’s death shows a disturbing disregard for the loss of life at the hands of dangerous drivers,” said Transportation Alternatives spokesman Mike Murphy. “For all New Yorkers to be safe from the threat of dangerous drivers, we need the NYPD to take traffic safety and enforcing the law seriously.”
Jan. 24, 2012, 9:28 am
Etta from PPW says:
The mean streets graphic is simply tasteless. Someone's son is dead.
Jan. 24, 2012, 9:39 am
Jacob from Clinton Hill says:
If you want to kill someone in NYC, do it with a car and say you didn't see them. That's good enough for the NYPD. They'll pronounce you innocent at the scene ("No criminality suspected"). Actually, you don't even need to stay at the scene. If, and I emphasize if, they find you later, they'll just let that whole "fleeing the scene is a felony" thing slide. As for the evidence collection, you won't need to worry about that, since they won't bother to see if local stores took video or anything. If fact, they'll even "forget" to take photos or collect blood evidence. That way, even if the public rises up and demands a real investigation later, it won't be physically possible for the NYPD to do so. They'll really cover all your bases to make sure your killing is as clean and hassle-free as possible.
Jan. 24, 2012, 9:41 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
I agree, Etta. I mean, doesn't BP have any faith in its own photographers? Why even use amateurish and adolescent clip art, of all things? The photo of the grieving family is more appropriate. It's not just BP's fault, though--so many, instead of demanding a higher quality paper, instead demand dumbing down, exploitation and bad taste and the rest of us are sick and tired of it.
Jan. 24, 2012, 9:42 am
manhatposeur from Portlyn Lakes Park says:
SOrry Dennis D for your disregard or disprect for people not orginally from your hood. But the fact that the truck dirver showed disregard for the man's life. He didnt bother to stop.
The family will probably go after the driver's means of lively hood aka wrongful death suit.
SO post his photos all over North Brooklyn.
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:19 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
What nonsense. You're "respecting" the family? No, you're using this as a thinly veiled attack on "people from 'my' hood.' I want the driver to face consequences, and I want the NYPD to also. Many of us want justice for this family. You want an opportunity to lambast Latinos and people from the community, but no one in the community supports the driver's or the NYPD's actions--you on the other hand, implicitly support the NYPD's egregious behavior. You should be ashamed.

And someone at Brooklyn Paper: hire a proofreader, already. That's 'surveillance', not 'survaillance.'
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:23 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
And Poseur,

Get a spell check. WE need all the help we can get to understand your garbled messages.
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:25 am
ty from pps says:
This man still has his driver's license... because of the NYPD.

He didn't notice he hit, dragged and rolled over two large objects??!??!?! Even if it was just a couple of wooden boxes (which is clearly was not), that tells you enough that he shouldn't be driving a motor vehicle... what else doesn't he notice on a daily basis?
Jan. 24, 2012, 12:21 pm
Smart Trucking Gal from Canada says:
A very sad situation. A young man is dead, and the poor parents have no one to blame. They want someone to take responsibility for their son's death.
Because it was the NYPD that botched the investigation, the 2nd choice is the trucker, who ran over their son. They know they won't get anywhere with the NYPD, as what's done is done. The evidence is gone.
So the trucker is the target. Nothing new. Maybe the trucker was at fault, and maybe he wasn't. It could be very likely that he didn't know that he hit the cyclist and dragged him. There's so much going on when a trucker is maneouvering in city traffic, esp. in NY, it certainly is a possibility.
I hope the trucker is tried fairly, and the book isn't thrown at him, just because he's a trucker. I hope justice prevails.
Jan. 29, 2012, 7:36 pm
Kelsey from Greenpoint says:
Smart Trucking Gal,
I don't think this has anything to do with anti-trucker bias. As has been widely reported, this happened at midnight and there were no other cars (or people) around. There wasn't "so much going on, maneouvering in city traffic." I also hope justice prevails.
Jan. 31, 2012, 4:20 pm
chieu-anh says:
Thank you for the attention paid to the Lefevre family and their
struggle. They are accepting donations for their legal fund here:
mathieulefevre.org
Feb. 13, 2012, 4:09 pm

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