Witnesses: SUV driver ran red light in Vespa crash

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A beloved Fort Greene mother of three was killed last Thursday when her Vespa was slammed by a speeding SUV that witnesses said ran a red light.

Aileen McKay-Dalton, 40, was on Dekalb Avenue at around 5:25 pm when the Ford Explorer, heading north on Clinton Avenue, plowed into her blue scooter. Witnesses said that McKay-Dalton had the green light.

“She was already in the intersection when he hit her,” said witness Tara Simoncic, adding that the menacing vehicle “was going faster than the speed limit.”

Simoncic said that two other witnesses “were pretty adamant” that McKay-Dalton, who was wearing a helmet, had the green light, though police have said that there was no crime committed.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) didn’t parse words in a statement released after the accident.

“A 40-year-old woman traveling by motor scooter was struck by an SUV vehicle that ran a red light near DeKalb and Clinton Avenues,” the councilwoman said.

A native of Scotland, McKay-Dalton leaves an 8-year-old daughter, two sons ages 3 and 6, and a husband, Michael Dalton, who met his future wife while the pair was still in high school in Scotland.

“She was everything,” he told the Daily News.

Family friend Pat Gleason described the dead woman as well liked and active in her community.

“She was truly larger than life,” he said. “She was extremely witty and funny.”

McKay-Dalton was very involved with the Northside Catholic Academy in Williamsburg, which her children attended before the family moved to Fort Greene two years ago. By all accounts, McKay-Dalton threw herself just as actively into the life of her new community, riding her beloved Vespa through the neighborhood and to and from the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School in Cobble Hill, where her children are now enrolled.

The identity of the SUV driver is a matter of some speculation. The Daily News reported that witnesses saw the man wearing a gun holster and that the car was registered to the Treasury Department. However, the accident report obtained by The Brooklyn Paper said the car — driven by a 29-year-old Louisiana man — was registered to Metro Property Appraisers, a Manhattan firm that does not show up in phone or business listings.

The Treasury Department declined to comment. In the meantime, James hounded the NYPD to step up the investigation in light of the allegation that the driver ran the red light.

“The NYPD must investigate the circumstances of this incident, and communicate openly with the victim’s family, my office, and the community at large,” she said.

Pressed repeatedly, the NYPD declined to go beyond its ruling that no crime was committed in the accident.

James’s office organized a vigil scheduled for this afternoon at the crash site to press for an investigation. Simoncic, the witness, wasn’t holding her breath for a full analysis of what happened, given how she was treated at the crime scene.

“The officer told me, ‘You can stay or you can go, I don’t really care,’ ” she said. She stayed, and the officer eventually took her statement.

Updated 3:31 pm, January 12, 2015
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Reasonable discourse

John from Sunset Park says:
Good investigative work by the Brooklyn Paper.

The issue of whether the car was registered to the treasury dept smells.

The IRS treasury enforcement office is one block from where the accident happened.
July 14, 2010, 3:16 am
Tony from Manhattan says:
The family are grieving, and will not have the heart to fight the police, so please, please don't let this story end like this. The witness statements suggest that a man ran a red light and killed an innocent young mother, and yet the police don't want to do anything about it.

Please continue to look into this, and find out if something is being hidden here.
July 14, 2010, 3:20 am
Friend from Scotland says:
Its such a terrible event that has left so many heartbroken. Aileen was an amazing lady who was an inspiration to all who met her. She had so much life about her and she treated everyone she met equally and with respect. She will be sorely missed by all.
July 14, 2010, 6:11 am
KMT from Downtown says:
Why is it so hard for a news organization, such as yours, to investigate and report the details of this incident? Stop worrying about dead geese and find out who is responsible for the death of this woman.
July 14, 2010, 8:31 am
Kalahari Dessert from Ft Greene says:
Stand at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush (even when there are "traffic agents" there), any time of day or night and watch SUV's, cars and vans speed through solid red lights. Going through red lights is the norm in Brooklyn, it seems.
July 14, 2010, 8:33 am
Fred from Fort Greene says:
Whats new? i was at a community affairs meeting a few months ago where somebody asked about traffic, and the cops gave it lip service but you could tell they didn't care. they'd rather obsess about somebody's iphone getting stolen than the continued control of our streets by aggressive and violent drivers.

Go to your community affairs meetings, people! The next one in fort greene is tuesday the 20th - call precinct 88 comm affairs office to find out where (they move it around) -(718) 636-6526
July 14, 2010, 8:38 am
Mark from Fort Greene says:
This is so sad. Good job reporting by the Brooklyn Paper. Councilor James, please push hard to see that justice is done. If you look at statistics, motor vehicles are they biggest threat that law-abiding New Yorkers face every day. We don’t have to live like this. Countries like Denmark have significantly reduced this type of accident. Politicians like Borough President Markowitz who oppose traffic calming measures and efforts to shift driving to other transportation modes have blood on their hands.
July 14, 2010, 8:40 am
ch from bh says:
WHAT is any politician doing to tame traffic on our streets? Especially that fat fart Markowitz. What a waste of a flesh, let alone his BP salary.
July 14, 2010, 9:05 am
Hopper from Los S-S says:
That's IT? "No Crime was Committed" and everybody's supposed to walk away? Unbelievable- but not surprising, from the NYPD. May the ghosts of those you wronged haunt you for the rest of your shameful days
July 14, 2010, 9:30 am
jackrusso from carroll gardens says:
this is really hitting home for as i ride a vespa as well, and the only times i've been afraid for my life has been around speeding suvs and some jackass driving it.
that driver should hang for being such self centered gas guzzling trash.
July 14, 2010, 9:50 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Tragedy but it should be a lesson to all - given our current traffic situation, people who value their health or should (like a mother) should NOT be riding a Vespa on NYC streets.
July 14, 2010, 10:14 am
Steve from Bedford Stuyvesant says:
Very unfortunate event for that family. I agree with Dave from Park Slope. NYC is not the place to be riding a motorcycle, or bicycle. They are fun, but very dangerous. We all try to do our part for the environment, but there are others out there that have no regard for life. Please don't assume your green light is a guarantee to a safe passage. Be safe out there if you are riding.
July 14, 2010, 10:43 am
jackiee from Flatbush says:
The NYPD doesn't enforce traffic laws across the board, all over the city. So obviously that's a decision made by the high-ups not individual officers acting on their own. NYC does not have cameras at intersections when every other large city in America does. The city's intentional purposeful neglect to enforce traffic laws and protect the public is basis for a major lawsuit. Don't just sue the SUV driver, sue the city.
July 14, 2010, 11 am
NYC Street User from Brooklyn says:
Dave and Steve,

Way to blame the victim, guys -- cars terrorize our streets, so we shouldn't ride motorcycles, scooters and bikes? Huh? I suppose we shouldn't walk around NYC, either.

How about we take steps to make our streets safe for everyone? Enforcing traffic laws and actually prosecuting those who kill through negligence might be a start.
July 14, 2010, 11:34 am
Traff from everywhere says:
Please don't blame the victim. Dave, if a madman with an axe is making it dangerous to walk the streets, the solution is to remove the madman.
July 14, 2010, 11:38 am
Ian from Greenwood Heights. says:
Those that can, do.

Those that can't become police officers.
July 14, 2010, 11:39 am
joe from williamsburg says:
Be defensive out there!!! Even if I have a green light I look both ways for cars/trucks/bikes/pedestrians who neglect the law and go against lights. If you have a green and a car is traveling too fast coming up to a red, they're probably going to run it. I've been right on many occasions and the fact I saw it coming probably has saved my life many times. NYC is notorious for impatient drivers who run reds seconds after they turn, it's good to assume that every driver not already stopped will run the light.
July 14, 2010, 12:06 pm
Roberto from Park Slope says:
Very sad story. My condolences to the family and friends who knew her. Shame on the NYPD for not pressing charges.
July 14, 2010, 1:21 pm
Former Resident from Clinton Hill says:
A red light running S.U.V.
Killed a Ft. Greene Mother of 3
But the cops couldn't care
For they're well aware
That the cars from the US Treasury
July 14, 2010, 1:43 pm
sid from Boerum Hill says:
assuming for a minute that the witnesses are correct and the car was both speeding and went through a red light, then it would be iMO vehicular manslaughter. The "normal rule" is that a driver doing one thing wrong is not guilty of the same but two MAY be. The person who makes the decision to bring such a case is the district attorney and not the PD. DA Hynes is normally pretty fair on these calls. So if someone wants to follow up who saw this or who is a relative they should contact Hynes's office
July 14, 2010, 2:10 pm
sid from boerum hill says:
not that proving that he was speeding will be easy(and remember the proof is beyond a reasonable doubt), the red light is easier....
July 14, 2010, 2:15 pm
sid from Boerum Hill says:
the car should have a record of the speed prior to the accident which you need a search warrant to get
July 14, 2010, 2:17 pm
Tina from Clinton Hill says:
How terrible. I walked past this accident scene maybe half an hour after the accident. I did not know anyone had died. I saw a man standing near the cops outside of a black SUV. The police had roped off clinton all the way down to willoughby on one end and lafayette (or even greene) on the other. The cops were knocking on the door of an apartment building on dekalb and clinton -- maybe looking for witnesses. It seemed to be more than the NYPD usually does after a car accident, but maybe they already knew there was a fatality? Or maybe it had to do with the identity of the driver.
July 14, 2010, 2:35 pm
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
This is terrible. But I do agree, people riding vespas, and even motorcycles in an urban environment lack wisdom. Just because your death was someone else's fault doesn't make you less dead, and your kids less mom-less.
July 14, 2010, 4:31 pm
a scottish friend from scotland says:
I just know that a very special girl is no longer here, I do hope that it was a horrible accident and am thinking the man driving the SUV has to live with the knowledge that no matter what happened Aileen isn't with us now. If there was a misdemeanour then I do hope justice is done but more importantly think of Aileen, Mike, Lottie, Manus and Jones, their family and friends. No Mummy I know filled everyday with memories like Aileen did and recorded them so beautifully with her camera. It won't replace her but its a lovely legacy, I just wish she was here now to keep recording!
July 14, 2010, 4:55 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
these motor scooters are very dangerous and should not be allowed in NYC. this is not Paris.
July 14, 2010, 5:34 pm
sad for the victim from bay ridge says:
Sorry for your loss, Scottish Friend, and all those who knew her.
July 14, 2010, 5:43 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
Blaming the woman because she was out on a Vespa on a nice summer day is beyond absurd, she had the right to use the streets as any of us do. I live four blocks form where this happened and trust me I see drivers here run lights every single day talking on their cell phones, rushing to get down to the BQE. That could have been anyone walking, on a bicycle, anyone who had the right of way to be in that intersection. The blame lies according to the people who actually saw this, with the the driver breaking the law, period. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones and may she rest in peace and may the 88th precinct do a better job in the future at calming our streets and dealing with aggressive and distracted driving here, it is a HUGE problem in our city, nothing we should accept as normal.
July 14, 2010, 5:49 pm
bigmike from greenpoint says:
al pankin:

those government employees with handguns and impunity are very dangerous and should not be allowed in America. this is not Moscow.
July 14, 2010, 5:54 pm
scottish friend from scotland says:
So many angry words perhaps rightly and judgements but if you knew Aileen you would know that whilst she loved a healthy debate ultimately her family was more important, please try to remember she was a loving (and loved) wife and mother and everything written here is the history you leave her children. At the end of the day she is no longer with us, so in her absence we must respect her love of her family, please think before you post on this site because three little hearts will read everything you say!
July 14, 2010, 7:29 pm
schatzieny from Park Slope says:
Terrible story. She might as well have been riding a bicycle -- the incident is treated the same way.

As I always say -- the car is mightier than the gun -- and a much easier way to get away with murder. "No crime was committed"; not even worth a ticket.
July 15, 2010, 9:14 am
Chris from Ft.Greene says:
I have suggestion, let's all take a picture or write down the license plate # of the car running on red light and call police to report it. Let them work harder to crack down on jackasses.
Denmark suggestion is right, every street in Brooklyn should have bike lane, why not we deserve it.
July 16, 2010, 6:35 am
Nid from New York says:
To the shameful Driver:

Get yourself a conscience, feel the loss of the family and friends of this woman, and TURN YOURSELF IN.
July 16, 2010, 11:51 am
Brad from all over NYC says:
Chris, the idea of reporting cars running red lights is novel from the standpoint of bringing grassroots attention to the issue. But police reportedly will not issue summonses for infractions which they have not witnessed.

And those of you who make armchair judgments about the relative wisdom of utilizing varying types of transportation must believe that as pedestrians you are invincible. I wish you luck.

Let's not lose sight of the real issues here, which there are at least two:

Motorists - all motorists - must exercise more care and must be less selfish. Many city residents, so overwhelmed by their responsibilities and pressures, drive like they are the only people who matter. Saving a moment is not worth loss of life or even property and it is imperative that we all calm down. Enforcement alone will not help. Traffic calming measures may even incite more type-A behavior among some. This requires a substantial mindset change. It needs relentless publicity and education.

Accidents do happen and will happen. That's why they are called accidents. We're all human and even if we aren't being irresponsible, lapses of attention can occur, or attention can be focused on one problem resulting in another being missed. But how the accident scene was handled by law enforcement and how the report was taken, is the issue. There are too many questions involving the handling of the accident scene, confusion over whether or not AIS was called (mandatory for any motor vehicle collision involving a fatality or possible fatality) and if so, whether their report was properly considered, mystery regarding the identity of the SUV driver and suggestions that the Blue Wall comes into play.

And now for the part that nobody is going to like, and let me be clear, I'm not making assumptions or placing blame...

There are about nine million people in this city - more at times with tourists and and with commuters filtering in from neighboring towns. Ours is the most densely populated city in the nation. And while I'm pleased that there are still some relatively quiet enclaves where people can relax and let their guards down a bit, by and large any lack of vigilance will end poorly.

Pedestrians: Cross with the light, at a crosswalk, and look both ways. Stop talking on your cellphones long enough to pay attention to your surroundings. And set a good example for your kids, too. Those of you who defiantly cross in front of moving traffic will not become martyrs - you will simply be dead or crippled, becoming a silent statistic while leaving your loved ones to grieve.

Bicyclists: Our bicycling community has improved hugely but many still treat traffic lights like mere suggestions. No bicycle rider has ever "won" in a collision of ANY kind.

Scooter riders and motorcyclists: Also are not likely to win in any collision, even if "only" with another pedestrian! Just because there's an engine underneath you is no reason to believe you're not at the bottom of the food chain. Lack of vigilance will end in tears. I suggest a book called "Help! They're All Out to Get Me!". I also recommend the MSF basic and advanced courses, even if you're just riding a scooter. It could save your life.

Motorists: You are NOT invincible. Slow the heck down and exercise caution. There are always larger, heavier vehicles out there that can and will kill you. If you're driving a Hummer you could still get crushed by a dump truck and if you're in a dump truck, you'll still get killed colliding with a crane transport. As you sit there, feeling safe and cozy in your little cocoon of metal, plastic and airbags, there are still dozens of ways for you to be maimed or killed even if you only collide with a motorcycle.
July 16, 2010, 12:21 pm
baxter from ri says:
It is clear that this is a gov.t/state cover up. They protect their own. This happened to a girl here in ri (diff scenario)
A drunk police officer- off duty- hit her while she was crossing the street at 1:30 am. Locals did nothing. Pathetic world we live in.
July 24, 2010, 8:56 am
Chef T. Payne from Brooklyn says:
I grew up in BKLYN and now live in CT I found this story to be typical NYPD BS at it's best. My heart goes out to the family and friends of this beautiful women who obviously was a angel. The problem is not the type of vehicle but it's operator. I was ran over by a car in brooklyn that sped through a light and ten yrs later I still suffer with pain which effects my life so ppl I beg of you slow down, signal, obey traffic laws and think of others as you travel about my beloved home BROOKLYN. Still the best place on earth
Sept. 8, 2010, 10:24 am
Bob from Parkslope says:
What are the stats on Vespa accidents in Brooklyn?
Antidotal comments really don't count. I'd like to know. I'm considering get one and use it to get my son a short distance to school.

My wife was walking a hit by a car so Add my name to car haters. It's not the scooters or bikes. Why do people drive cars in the city?
Where are they going that they can't get to by subway, bus, bike or scooter. I know so many people with cars who don't need them. All save the enviroment types ta boot. Get the cars off the streets
and reckless drivers off the street. Ask yourself why do I have this car?
Sept. 26, 2015, 8:38 pm

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