The legislation behind New York’s “Vision Zero” has been written with the blood of victims like Kenny Valette.
Valette, a 20-year-old man from the Bronx, was fatally struck by a tractor-trailer last evening.
Valette was crossing Webster Avenue near E. 174th St. when the truck made a right-hand turn from the ramp of the Cross Bronx Expressway. The truck driver apparently didn’t see him and crashed into him.
Emergency personnel rushed to the scene and took the victim to St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. He was pronounced dead there.
An investigation is underway. It is not clear whether the driver will face criminal charges. The new legislation provides prosecutors with the ability to charge a driver with a misdemeanor if they kill or seriously injure a pedestrian who has the right-of-way.
Understandably, prosecutors have been reticent in filing these charges. Still, there is some serious thought that filing charges in appropriate cases will serve as a deterrent factor for other driver’s and may save lives.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and people who loved Mr. Valette. This is yet another tragic accident where a pedestrian lost their life. It is precisely the reason why New York has pushed so hard to implement the “Vision Zero” program.
Some questions loom, however. This accident took place after 10:00 PM. Was the area properly illuminated? How fast was the tractor-trailer being operated? Was this an area that the city made safe for pedestrian traffic? These and others are all fair questions, questions that the family of Mr. Valette are entitled to have answers to.
It is also fair to ask whether there has been enough progress with the city’s “Vision Zero” program. Traffic fatalities appeared to have gone down but there are still too many head scratching traffic accidents that lead to either serious injury or death on a regular basis. Traffic fatalities, shockingly, have taken more lives than drugs, gang violence and guns. Maybe we just haven’t done enough yet.
The family of a person who loses their life because a tractor-trailer driver was not being careful enough often face complicated legal issues. There is no question that they have a right to seek justice in the court system. They are entitled to be compensated for their losses.
Any family who confronts this kind of tragedy should consider hiring an experienced lawyer or law firm who has a track record of handling both Wrongful Death and Tractor-trailer cases.
The lawyers at the well-known law firm of Block O’Toole & Murphy have a proud tradition of helping families through very challenging times. Our results, including more than $850 million in verdicts and settlements, speak for themselves. Just as important, though, is the firm’s experienced hand in guiding a family after they have endured a horrible tragedy.
People need and deserve compassion from the professionals they are relying on to get them justice. You can learn more about these experienced and compassionate lawyers by reviewing the firm website at www.blockotoole.com and you can contact them at any time for a free consultation at 212-736-5300.