52-year-old Charles McClean went to a corner store just a block from his apartment when he was tragically struck and killed by a USPS truck as he tried crossing the street at the corner of MacDougal St. and Howard Ave. in Brooklyn on May 3, 2019.
The truck was stopped at the one-way intersection when McClean began to cross the street. The driver looked to his left for oncoming traffic, but never noticed McClean crossing the street at his right. Unfortunately, McClean was in front of the USPS truck when the roadway cleared and the driver accelerated. McClean was struck and dragged into the intersection, and later pronounced dead at Interfaith Hospital.
The truck driver, a postal employee who has not been named, remained on the scene. As of now, he has not been charged with anything by the police.
This was a crash that was 100% preventable. Our hearts go out to the McClean family during this trying time.
Tragically, surveillance video reveals McClean did his best to cross safely within the crosswalk. However, the truck driver had already pulled up and onto the crosswalk as he waited for the road to clear, causing McClean to walk in front of the truck rather than behind it. If the driver had only waited behind the crosswalk or taken one look to his right before accelerating, this crash would not have happened.
“It’s wrong. We’re not safe crossing our own crosswalk,” Gregory McClean, brother of the deceased, told Streetsblog NYC. “They’re looking only for the cars, not at the people crossing.”
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has not yet commented on the crash, and the lack of accountability on the part of the organization must increase the frustration for the McClean family. Although USPS drivers must obey the same laws as other motorists, USPS trucks do not have license plates, and so in practice they are not frequently ticketed.
“They drive terribly,” an unnamed enforcement officer told Streetsblog NYC. “I want to give them tickets, but they don’t have to pay them so my [commanding officer] said it’s a waste of my time.”
Accident statistics for USPS drivers are difficult to come by. The last safety audit released by the organization was in 2012, finding that “supervisors did not consistently complete the observations” required to assess driving safety. In September 2018, a blog post about safety at USPS facilities in the Great Lakes area found that “management did not consistently adhere to safety compliance and accident reporting requirements.” Recent USPS accident data for the Northeast region is not available.
There is nothing that can undo the tragic crash that took Charles McClean from his family. It is incredibly frustrating when careless driving decisions and behavior claims somebody’s life, and then the motorist responsible is not punished. At a bare minimum, it would be instructive to know if this driver had any prior accidents or tickets on his record which may have indicated the likelihood of a future crash.
On top of the grief that comes with needlessly losing a loved one, a sudden death like this potentially burdens the family with funeral costs and other bills. When this happens, sometimes a lawsuit is necessary to receive compensation for the damages unfairly inflicted on the grieving family.
The attorneys of Block O’Toole & Murphy have an unmatched record of success. The firm has successfully litigated wrongful death cases involving trucks before, such as this $5 million settlement after a mother of four was killed by a garbage truck while walking in Manhattan. Call 212-736-5300 for a free, no-obligation consultation today.