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City giving ‘special protection’ to carting company by not pressing charges in hit-and-run death, lawyer says

Preferential treatment?: The city is protecting the driver for an allegedly well-connected private carting company by not pressing charges against him for hitting and killing a 27-year-old cyclist in Greenpoint last year, the lawyer representing the victim's family told this newspaper.
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He’s crying cover up!

The city is protecting a private-carting company with a history of fatal accidents after its employee hit and killed a 27-year-old cyclist in Greenpoint last July while driving a massive garbage truck he was not licensed to operate, the lawyer representing the victim’s family told the Brooklyn Paper.

“The company has been involved in five separate fatalities in the past few years. It has a big contract with the city of New York — millions of dollars — and it seems it gets special protection from the city and police,” said Michael Kremins, an attorney with the Manhattan-based personal-injury firm Raskin and Kremins. “He did not have a valid license, and should not have been behind the wheel of that truck.”

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez let the driver — whom Kremins identified as 63-year-old Jose Nunez after law enforcement refused to release his name — off the hook on Jan. 9 because his prosecutors said they lacked enough evidence to arrest him after a police probe determined the man didn’t know he hit Neftaly Ramirez near Noble and Franklin streets while the cyclist was pedaling home from work on July 22.

Cops confirmed the motorist had a valid New York State license to drive a car, but not the kind needed to get behind the wheel of a commercial garbage truck, which led them to slap him with a summons.

But Gonzalez’s rep maintained prosecutors did not have enough evidence to charge the driver.

“There were no criminal charges that could have been brought in this case,” said Oren Yaniv.

Kremins isn’t giving the motorist or his employer the same special treatment he claimed they received from the city, however. The Ramirez family plans to file a civil suit against the allegedly well-connected, New Jersey-based Action Carting, he said, which will hopefully shed light on its years of negligence and force the business to shape up.

“What the family wants to do is change that attitude, so other citizens don’t have the same fate as Neftaly,” said the 35-year-plus lawyer. “Hopefully this lawsuit will be the catalyst that changes the conduct and behavior.”

Investigators claimed there’s no video of the actual collision, and Kremins didn’t see the camera footage cops have from before or after the crash, the lawyer said. But reps from the district attorney’s suggested he file a Freedom of Information Request to get the footage, he said.

Kremins said he submitted a request the day after Gonzalez closed the case, and has yet to receive any evidence. This newspaper submitted its own request on Jan. 17, and is also still waiting for a response.

And the attorney said that the information law enforcement did share with him doesn’t quite add up.

Police only interviewed the driver by phone 17 hours after the fatal crash, and did not test his blood for alcohol or drugs, he said.

And Kremins said the district attorney’s reps told him the video clip from moments before the collision shows the driver’s colleague riding on the back of the truck, allegedly above the same tires that hit Ramirez, but that footage from after the incident shows the co-worker inside the vehicle.

“A block before this stop occurred there’s video that shows the helper on the back of the truck, on the same side where the wheels of the truck supposedly hit him,” he said. “The next video they have, about a minute after the impact, the helper is now sitting in the front seat next to the driver. We find that troublesome.”

But authorities said an eyewitness told them that the motorist’s colleague was in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Ramirez’s death likely was not a calculated murder, but someone still should be held accountable, Kremins said.

“No one is claiming that they intentionally went out to run over a biker and kill him — but you really have to use due care,” he said. “If this is the first time that it occurred or the first time the company was involved, then okay, maybe things like this happen. But when it happens over and over and over again, then you start thinking something’s not right. Something smells.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:50 pm, July 9, 2018: The driver's name and age were added to this story.
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Reasonable discourse

Peter Engel from Fort Greene says:
This is beyond sloppy police work It has to come from high up. Tell your friends this is happening. Let's all pressure the NYPD and the DA for evidence.
Jan. 26, 10:59 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
These are the perks you acquire when you cough up the cash to the BdB regime. Mobsters buying crooks is the way the game has always been played here. Yet the lemmings line up every day to reward the crooks. Maybe some will learn and things will change, though I doubt it.
Jan. 27, 12:19 am
Thomas from Brooklyn Heights says:
Maybe I won't miss the old NYC after all.
Jan. 27, 7:26 am
Teresa Toro from Greenpoint says:
We need garbage. We don't need bicycles.
Jan. 27, 4:06 pm
OA from East Village says:
Thank you to the family for your courage in speaking up and fighting for what's right. We cannot allow this city and homicidal private carting companies to continue killing and maiming out neighbors. My condolences about your loss and thank you so much for fighting this fight.
Jan. 27, 4:35 pm
Janie from Windsor Terrace says:
Our recent demands for bicycles suggest overcrowding, which means more garbage. That said, I'm all for well planned bike lanes and doing away with the private trash carting companies. And let's get rid of the bogus solar compactors... what a joke that was.
Jan. 28, 3:04 pm
Chung We from Chinatown says:
This is bull - if anything the mayor is bought by these bicycle people! Do you know how much fugging money they give him?!?! Millions of dollars! Oh here, our google bicycles and disposable income !! Here’s money!!
WTF???
Jan. 28, 5:19 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Chung We: does this mean you're Ok with killing people with no ramifications as long as they're riding bikes? You sound like a twisted POS. Who leaves the street droppings, your dog or you?
Jan. 28, 7:49 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Teresa Toro from Greenpoint: You are garbage and we don't need you. Go get carted away. Feels nice, huh?
Jan. 28, 7:52 pm
Tyson White from Harlem says:
Let me get this straight: An unlicensed driver runs over and kills someone and police only interview him over the phone?!?
Jan. 29, 10:47 am
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Tyson White: Exactly! You'll be forgiven for not being impressed with the work ethic of the NYPD's Crash Investigation team. And yet the knuckleheads on this page can only say "damn bikers deserved it!"
Jan. 29, 11:08 am
eleanor from park slope says:
bicyclists usually don't stop at lights or obey any other traffic laws. They also should be held accountable for their actions and have license plates and insurance just like drivers of vehicles. They often are at fault of many accidents, coming out from between parked cars, going thru red lights, not stopping at stop signs and injuring pedestrians.
Jan. 29, 11:12 am
Chris from Bushwick says:
Thanks, Eleanor, for your completely irrelevant victim-blaming diatribe. This article is about an unlicensed driver who killed a cyclist and then drove away from the scene of the crime.
Jan. 29, 12:13 pm
Brian from Dyker Heights says:
Eleanor, there is no evidence that cyclists break traffic laws at a different rate from other road users. There is evidence that cyclists break different laws and that their lawbreaking is less dangerous to themselves and others than lawbreaking by motorists.

In fact there are very few injuries from pedestrian-cyclist interactions and almost no deaths. There are numerous deaths from automobile accidents, which is why drivers are licensed and motor vehicles must carry tags. There is no such requirement for cyclists, who don't cause the same amount of carnage, despite your fantasies.

Do you have any real evidence for your ridiculous assertion, or is it just a feeling you have because you've been startled by cyclists while not paying proper attention?
Jan. 29, 1:14 pm
Hillary from Pierpont Street says:
Gee. I wonder if the money the carting industry gave to pols mattered.
Jan. 29, 1:19 pm
Adam from Fort Greene says:
This is an outrage. How many more people does this garbage truck company get to kill without any consequences? De Blasio's Vision Zero is a complete joke. It should be renamed Vision Bribes.
Jan. 29, 1:21 pm
Adrian from Ridgewood says:
How can the government spend so much money on rescue missions (like when people are taken captive in foreign countries), but cannot try to reduce carnage right here in the city if it only requires rejecting the bribes they get from Action Carting. The driver should be prosecuted just like anyone would be
Jan. 29, 2:16 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It's very likely that the driver for that carting company wasn't charged was mainly due to not acting with negligence. Unless any of you can prove otherwise, that's how it stands as. By that, it's believed that the death of that cyclist wasn't intentional, therefore he isn't solely responsible for it. More importantly, how do you know if the cyclist was following the traffic laws, because I don't read anything that says he did, which makes me very suspicious. Also, when cyclists don't follow traffic laws, they are placing themselves into harm's way, and that's not victim blaming, but rather a fact.
Jan. 29, 6:35 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Tal, sweetie, driving a vehicle while not licensed/authorized to operate that vehicle IS ACTING WITH NEGLIGENCE.
Jan. 29, 7:40 pm
Kenneth Natton from Williamsburg says:
One merchant changed carting companies after this incident. Perhaps other Greenpoint businesses could do the same and switch to a NYC based carting company instead. Come on Greenpoint businesses. Do the right thing!
Jan. 29, 7:40 pm
JP from LES says:
Last year I was intentionally hit by a speeding car whilst cycling in Manhattan. He chased me the wrong way up a one way street and rammed into the back of me at over 40mph, sending me flying over the hood. Perp was arrested at the scene, there were more than 5 witnesses who told the NYPD that it was a deliberate act, and I found out later that the perp had admitted to the NYPD that he lost his temper and that yes, it was a deliberate act.

Just found out recently that the DA has declined to press charges against him. It was an act of attempted murder which came extremely close to killing me, and the driver will not suffer a single legal consequence. At this point I don't even know what to do about it, I'm so angry I can't even function. So God knows what the family of Ramirez are feeling right now.
Jan. 30, 12:09 am
JP from LES says:
I challenge the NYPD to reveal who this "witness" was who allegedly claims they saw the colleague in the cab at the time of the crash. I contend that this is complete and utter horsesh*t, and is most likely an outright lie by the NYPD.

This alleged "witness" is supposed to have witnessed the crash, right? So how many of you, in the course of witnessing a cyclist being crushed to death by a garbage truck, would stop to take note of who was or wasn't in the passenger seat? I don't believe it for one minute.

The videos speak volumes. The most likely story is that the colleague was on the back of the truck when it ran over Neftaly, both of them were aware of the collision, the driver stopped the truck around the corner, the colleague went up front for the inevitable "holy sh*t you just hit a guy, what are we going to do" discussion - and they decided that given that the driver DIDN'T HAVE A LICENSE they would act like nothing happened, continue the rest of their route and deny everything.

An unlicensed driver is 100% more likely to leave the scene of an accident than a law abiding driver with nothing to hide. This is just common sense.

There is no way on earth they were unaware that they'd hit Neftaly. This whole idea that drivers of garbage trucks can run cyclists over without feeling anything is completely bullsh*t. Utter nonsense. There are dozens of videos online of garbage trucks running over cyclists, and the wheels bounce over the body and the bicycle to an extent that would definitely be felt in the cab (and almost certainly on the back where the driver's colleague was blatantly riding).

Not only this, but this Nunez scumbag RIGHT HOOKED Neftaly. Meaning, he overtook him and made a right turn into his path instead of yielding to him. There is no way in the world that they didn't see Neftaly cycling along the side of the road as they passed him, and any responsible driver with regard for human life would wait until he'd passed before making the turn. Scumbags don't do this. They think "screw him, I'm turning anyway and if he cycles into my path then I don't really care."

I remember when the NYPD announced that they wouldn't be pressing charges, they cited a deciding factor as being the fact that the driver continued with the rest of his route after hitting Neftaly. A guilty driver, they reasoned, wouldn't have done that. It's as if these idiots have never heard of someone committing a crime and then going about their daily business in order to make themselves look innocent. This is literally how easy it is to fool the NYPD.

I really hope Neftaly's family pursue this until the whole sordid web of lies and corruption is uncovered. And Action Carting needs to be sued into financial ruination, like every other garbage hauling company which hires unlicensed criminal GARBAGE to drive its trucks (another unlicensed truck driver killed a child in Brooklyn last Friday). Enough is enough with this bottom feeding scum.
Jan. 30, 12:52 am

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