Killed cyclist’s mum lashes out
THE mother of Madison Lyden, the Australian tourist killed by a truck while riding a bike in New York, has branded Manhattan's top prosecutor a coward for failing to file criminal charges against the driver whose actions allegedly led to the tragedy.
The NYPD wanted Uber driver Jose Peralta charged, but Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance says "a gap in the law" means he can't.
Madison's mother, Amanda Berry, has joined forces with Dana Lerner, who lost her nine-year-old son Cooper in a 2014 Manhattan traffic crash involving a driver who was also not charged by Mr Vance.
"Four years ago, when District Attorney Cyrus Vance refused to prosecute the driver who killed Cooper Stock, he sent a message to all reckless drivers in Manhattan that deadly behaviour will not have any consequences under his watch," Ms Berry and Ms Lerner said in a joint statement to the New York Post. "That absence of accountability has now taken another life.
"Madison Lyden was killed after a taxi driver veered into the bike lane she rode in on Central Park West, forcing her into traffic, and DA Vance has again refused to prosecute - even though the NYPD believed the driver committed a criminal act.
"DA Vance's failure to prosecute reckless drivers is sheer cowardice, and as long as he continues to indulge such dangerous behaviour, pedestrians and cyclists will continue to die on Manhattan streets."
Madison, 23, originally from Tasmania, was holidaying in New York on August 10. She was riding a bike along Central Park West near West 67th Street when Mr Peralta allegedly strayed into her bike lane.
The NYPD said Madison died when she was forced to swerve into the path of a sanitation truck driven by Felipe Chairez.
Police allegedly found three empty beer cans in Mr Chairez's truck and charged him with driving under the influence.
NYPD Captain Timothy Malin told a community meeting in Manhattan last week they wanted to charge Mr Peralta but Mr Vance decided not to.
"We took it to the DA's office," Captain Malin told the meeting.
"Everyone on the scene wants to arrest.
"The Collision Investigation Squad wants to arrest.
"The DA's office didn't want to prosecute."
Mr Vance claims state law does not allow for a criminal charge of a driver who has not made contact with other vehicles or people.
"The office determined that New York law does not provide criminal liability for drivers whose illegal standing contributes to a fatality in instances where no contact is made between the illegally standing vehicle and the victim," Mr Vance spokesman Danny Frost told the Post.
"We would strongly support legislation to address this gap in the law."