DA to investigate Vespa mom death

Wrongful death suit in ‘Vespa Mom’ crash

The Brooklyn District Attorney announced last Wednesday that it would conduct its own criminal investigation into the tragic death of a Fort Greene mother of three who was run down by an SUV that apparently ran a red light on July 8.

The move by Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes came after the NYPD had ruled that there was “no crime committed” when the Ford Explorer slammed into Aileen McKay-Dalton, the 40-year-old mom.

“People came forward and said that there are some things we should look into,” Hynes’s spokesman Jerry Schmetterer told us. “We’re investigating [if] a crime was committed.”

As of this Tuesday, though, neither of the principal witnesses in the accident report had been contacted by the DA’s office, although Schmetterer said that his office had spoken to other witnesses.

The initial investigation revealed that the Ford Explorer that hit McKay-Dalton is owned by the Treasury Department, even though it’s registered to Metro Property Appraisers, a Manhattan company that does not appear to exist. The car’s registration gives the company address as 29 John St. in Manhattan — but that building is entirely residential, and the driver of the car, Joel Loudon Murphy, does not live there. The accident report gives a Louisiana address for him, but he has not returned repeated calls left at his Bayou State home.

A source said that law enforcement vehicles are typically not registered to the actual agency, making it difficult to know what branch of the Treasury Department is involved in the death of McKay-Dalton.

Michael Locke / My Little O

The DA’s announcement came amidst mounting public pressure for a more thorough investigation into the accident at DeKalb and Clinton avenues.

Friends, neighbors, and Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) say that the NYPD mishandled the initial investigation by ruling that there was no criminality even though witnesses say the behemoth vehicle that hit McKay-Dalton was speeding and had run a red light.

Those allegations were front and center during a candle light vigil for McKay-Dalton at the site of the accident last Wednesday afternoon.

A crowd of 50 people showed up for the vigil, most hailing the Scotland native McKay-Dalton as a pillar of her community and a dear friend.

“Aileen really loved living in Brooklyn,” said Kelly Fitzgerald, a friend of the family. “We’re going to miss her forever.”

At the end, the group of witnesses, friends, family, and neighbors – many weeping – lit candles and held a moment of silence.

Candles are lit for Aileen McKay-Dalton at Clinton and DeKalb avenues, where she was killed July 8 when a car hit her as she rode her vespa.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

“She was amazing. She had tons of friends,” added Karen Griffin.

“She touched everybody that she met,” said another friend.

But others spoke less about the victim, and more about justice.

Tara Simoncic, who saw the accident, said she experienced “indifference” by the NYPD at the accident scene.

“Don’t assume the Police Department will take the right information or is on the side of the people,” she said.

McKay-Dalton’s father-in-law, Ron Dalton, speaks on behalf of her family at the vigil at Clinton and DeKalb avenues, where she was killed July 8 when a car hit her as she rode her vespa.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini