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A closer look: Two unlicensed truck drivers who hit and killed cyclists face different fates under law

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Cops arrested an oil-truck driver who hit and killed a teenage bike rider in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Friday because he allegedly drove without a license. But the motorist who fatally collided with a 27-year-old cyclist in Greenpoint last July while driving a garbage truck he was not licensed to operate only received a violation that prosecutors couldn’t charge him on, according to a spokesman for District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

“The driver in the most recent case was allegedly driving with a suspended license, which is a misdemeanor offense,” said Oren Yaniv. “The driver in the earlier case did have a valid license but was driving out of class, which isn’t a prosecutable crime.”

Last week, motorist Philip Monfoletto was traveling along Lewis Avenue towards Putnam Avenue in a 2000 Mack oil truck when he plowed into 13-year-old Kevin Flores around 5:30 pm while making a right turn onto Jefferson Avenue, police said.

Emergency responders transported the Queens teen who suffered severe head trauma to Interfaith Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead, according to authorities.

Monfoletto remained at the scene, and officers arrested him for driving with a suspended license. Officials previously issued him suspensions no less than nine times, according to information from Gonzalez’s rep, who could not confirm the class of Monfoletto’s suspended license.

A driver with 10 suspensions at the time of his or her arrest can be charged with a felony, but Monfoletto only had nine when cops cuffed him. The Long Island resident’s rap sheet also includes three prior arrests, including for a July 2017 stabbing, according to a New York Daily News report.

Monfoletto — who bragged about being above the law on social media, according to a Twitter post — claimed he didn’t see Flores when he smashed into the boy. But that did not stop Gonzalez from charging him with a criminal misdemeanor for aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle the next day, according to information from the top prosecutor’s office.

Flores’s death came about six months after 63-year-old Jose Nunez, an employee of the private trash collector Action Carting, killed cyclist Neftaly Ramirez in a collision near Noble and Franklin streets, and then drove away.

But police claimed Nunez didn’t know he hit the victim, and let the motorist — who did not have the correct class of license to drive a massive garbage truck — almost entirely off the hook when they issued him a summons for the violation of driving out of class on Nov. 10, nearly four months after he hit and killed Ramirez on July 22.

And fatally plowing into pedestrians should constitute more than mere traffic-related charges, according to Borough President Adams, who demanded stronger punishments for drivers such as Monfoletto and Nunez at a Sunday vigil for Flores and on social media.

“There’s a reason for vehicle licenses; in the wrong hands, they can be deadly weapons,” the beep wrote on Twitter. “We need criminal penalties for unlicensed drivers in deadly crashes, and companies who have them operate their vehicles.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:49 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Frank from Furter says:
Quote of the Day
Emma Hart, a New Zealand-based writer, wrote on Twitter:
I have this theory that cycling is as close as a middle-class straight white guy can get to understanding Being Female. People have a reckless disregard for your safety, you have to treat everyone like they might hurt you, and if you do get hurt people will blame you for existing.
Jan. 31, 8:56 am
Frank from Furter says:
there is a big difference between driving while suspended and not having the class of license needed to drive a certain vehicle...
Jan. 31, 9:03 am
David Weinkrantz from Downtown Brooklyn says:
In 2014 State Senator Michael Gianaris introduced a bill to make it a felony to seriously injure or cause the death of a person while driving with a suspended or revoked license.

His bill was passed by the Republican controlled Senate but not by the Democratic controlled Assembly.

As disgraced Shelly Silver no longer leads the Assembly, why won't the Assembly pass the bill?
Jan. 31, 9:50 am
no hype from NYC says:
Let newspapers not refer to an accident as "plowing". It's disrespectful.

If the act wasn't intentional, then it's an accident. And an accident is an accident, no matter if they were licensed or not.

I don't have a truck driving license but can drive a truck better than most truck drivers (not to worry as I'm not driving trucks). Truth is that most licensed drivers, of trucks & automobiles, really don't know how to drive well, have poor instincts, and don't know how to handle difficult or emergency situations.

If you can't pass an obstacle course, can't avoid or take a vehicle out of a skid, you should not have a license to drive.

Government is failing us buy allowing unqualified drivers to be licensed. Unfortunately, the more vehicles on the road, the more money the Government collects from the public and business.
Jan. 31, 9:57 am
JP from LES says:
In the absence of any protection or justice whatsoever from our incompetent, lazy, corrupt lawmakers, DA's, police and politicians, the family of vehicular murder victims like this must do everything they can to impose financial ruination upon the guilty parties or their employers.

"no hype from NYC" above uses the blanket term "accident" without qualifying that not all accidents are the same. There are accidents which are caused, say, by an animal running into the road unexpectedly. And there are "accidents" caused by ignorant, coarse minded scum without any regard for human life who drive in a manner which is a direct threat to innocent people. Have you heard of involuntary manslaughter? This is what scum like Philip Monfoletto should be charged with, every time. "Plow" isn't disrespectful at all, it's entirely appropriate.
Jan. 31, 11:17 am
JP from LES says:
"Frank from Furter" - if that's your "Quote of the Day" you seriously need to think about raising your standards, lol! Can we please go one day without trying to shoehorn one cause into another.
Jan. 31, 11:19 am
Boeingsandbikes from Park Slope says:
Mr. "No Hype", you are very wrong. Speaking as an airline pilot - to whom the outcomes of crash investigations play a major role in my daily operation - you misunderstand the word "accident" and that misunderstanding is costing lives of innocent people. If you are drunk and you drive, or you exceed a speed limit, or act in an aggressive manner, you increase the likelihood of a crash dramatically. If you didn't intend to crash but still PLOW over a child riding a bicycle, what happened was not an accident; it was the foreseeable outcome of conscious decisions. NOT AN ACCIDENT.

If neighborhood groups complained that the design of a road or an intersection led to dangerous outcomes and those roads where not narrowed, or crossings shortened, or safe spaces were not provided, a crash is not really just "an accident"; it's the systemic failure of our system to protect the most vulnerable. And it's why you know so many people in your neighborhood whose lives have been altered or ended by drivers. NOT AN ACCIDENT.

What happened to young Kevin Flores was not an accident at all. If you told me that someone was driving a commercial vehicle after 9 license suspensions and three other arrests for things like stabbings, and bragged on his social media that he was above the law, I would have predicted that it was likely that he would PLOW his vehicle over a child. Turns out I'm not a psychic, I would have just been right. NOT AN ACCIDENT but, horrifically, the foreseeable outcome.
Jan. 31, 12:25 pm
hb from ft greene says:
I agree boeingsandbikes. In fact, sadly, I'll bet the driver of the truck that killed the 13 year old would agree...now.
Jan. 31, 3:16 pm
big fan of Ian's from way back says:
There's not much to add to Boeingsandbike's three paragraphs. Like so many things in life, it's about accepting responsibility for your decisions.
Feb. 1, 4:45 pm

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