NO CHARGES PURSUED AGAINST GARBAGE TRUCK DRIVER IN PEDESTRIAN DEATH: NYPD

crash 61st
Photo of the crash scene by David Torres.

By Joy Bergmann

No criminal charges are being pursued against the garbage truck driver who struck and killed 21-year-old Fordham graduate Noah Goldstein on June 18, Captain Levon Holley told attendees of the 20th Precinct Community Council meeting Monday evening.

There were no witnesses to the crash, he said. “There is video of the incident but – for whatever reason – the camera jumped. So you see Noah crossing the street, and then the next thing you see is he is laid out in the street.” The driver was not on the scene when police arrived.

Highway Collision Investigation Squad performed its investigation and did track down the vehicle involved. “Evidence points to it being an accident due to the fact that it was a garbage truck. He may not have known that he struck an individual,” said Capt. Holley. “They are not pursuing any criminal charges at this time.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 8.49.36 PMGoldstein (pictured at right) was in Fordham’s theater program, and students there have created tributes to Goldstein.

An analysis of recent collisions showed disproportionate involvement of taxicabs and trucks, Holley said. Citing this evidence, the precinct undertook a traffic enforcement initiative this past weekend. “We issued 53 summonses specifically and only to taxicabs and garbage trucks,” said Capt. Holley. “Red lights, speeding, use of cell phone…a whole host of violations.”

Other items discussed during the meeting included:

NEWS | 46 comments | permalink
    1. Private garbage companies says:

      Something is wrong if the garbage truck is not being charged–at least for leaving the scene of a crime.

      Late at night all the private commercial garbage haulers driver too fast.
      There’s one that drives 40 to 50 mph down my street every night.

    2. Siddhartha says:

      Um, leaving the scene of a vehicular manslaughter seems criminal…

      • anon says:

        it is but they say “due to the fact that it was a garbage truck. He may not have known that he struck an individual,” If he honestly didn’t know is it still a crime? I’m not taking a side here. I’m really asking.

      • the_the says:

        If you have ever driven a 25 ton truck you would know that you wouldn’t really feel much running over something as (relatively) insignificant as a human body with the rear wheels of the truck. Certainly wouldn’t feel much different than a pothole.

        The above is assuming Mr. Goldstein wasn’t hit by the front of the truck.

        I’m sure the police are sorting this out and if charges are warranted in the next few days the driver will be charged.

        Sad for Mr. Goldstein, his family and friends.

      • Upper West Side Wally says:

        ‘Vehicular manslaughter’ implies a deliberate act.

        • Siddhartha says:

          Manslaughter refers to unintentional/negligent death, whereas murder refers to intentional or premeditation. I would argue manslaughter absolutely applies here.

        • Margaret says:

          Deliberate act is the exact opposite of what manslaughter implies. What are you basing that on? Please tell me this isn’t NYPD’s understanding.

      • Siddhartha says:

        Additionally:

        Felony hit and run is defined by most states as leaving the scene of an accident where there is any type of injury to a person, whether the injured person is a pedestrian or an occupant of a vehicle.

    3. zeus says:

      The driver did not know he struck a pedestrian?
      Sounds strange, to say the least.
      And the fact that it was a garbage truck leads to the finding that it’s an accident?
      I have seen in the past garbage trucks strike parked vehicles on purpose, and have reported it to the police.
      And the rush to judgement, a mere week after the tragedy?

    4. Odette says:

      When I heard that this accident was caused by a garage truck, it didn’t surprise me. I have been noticing that garbage truck specifically have NOT been adhering to the speed limits and go exceeding fast. I myself almost became a statistic when a fast moving garbage truck sped through one of the local streets. Because of their size, their line of visual is impaired so I would think they need to be extra careful. This actually was an observation that I made and wanted to report it to the NYC Department of Transportation. Unfortunately young Noah became one of their victims. That fact that they may have not noticed that they hit someone is very disturbing and not to issue any criminal charges is utterly ridiculous.

    5. Woody says:

      Why so quick to seek the harshest penalties possible when it hadn’t been determined that the truck knew the victim had been struck? Maybe it was the pedestrian who ran out into the street when he shouldn’t have.

      “He may not have known that he struck an individual,” said Capt. Holley.

    6. Christina C. says:

      Today I was almost hit by a garbage truck driver on 72nd. I was already in the crosswalk crossing West End and he turned and went right through missing me by a few feet only.

      I’m glad it looks like they are trying to do something but I feel terrible this young kid was killed tragically. It sounds like the driver should’ve been charged. Didn’t he leave the scene after killing a person? Thoughts and prayers to his family.

      • dannyboy says:

        A reason to consider allowing pedestrians to cross at the crosswalk and disallowing vehicles to turn into the crosswalk simultaneously.

        • Lucien says:

          I completely agree with you. Pedestrians & cars should have their own light to cross without worrying about each other yielding.

          Whenever I cross street I make sure I am not crossing the side where a driver is making a left turn and needs to yield for pedestrians.

          • dannyboy says:

            Obvious, but BRILLIANT!

            Now, if the DOT could only stop their workarounds long enough to focus on the structural problem, we would all be safer.

      • lynn says:

        Christina C., I don’t know if it was the same time but I was crossing on 72nd and Broadway today when a garbage truck ran the light almost hitting a cab (which had to swerve into traffic) and the guy standing on the back of the truck was laughing like it was a joy ride. 🙁

        • Westside_Mimi says:

          Yes Lynn. I’ll agree it’s like a game of chicken to them. I say this from personal experience as well.

    7. bz says:

      I have repeatedly complained to District 7, DOT and Rosenthal’s office about the city garbage trucks that speed along West End Avenue and blow lights. Happens all the time. Nobody is willing to take on Sanitation. Vision Zero is a joke.

      • dannyboy says:

        bz, yours is the second comment in a row about wea (the first being Christina C’s. above). I felt that the Vision Zero redesign of wea by using a can of paint was doomed (as in deaths would result). I could not get Helen Rosenthal to agree, but I feel that allowing pedestrians sole access to crosswalks, while vehicles are stopped from turning, would be safer. We shall see.

    8. ursus arctos says:

      Does anyone know if it was a Dept of Sanitation garbage truck or a privateer?

      • Joy Bergmann says:

        The Captain implied that this was a private garbage truck, not Streets and Sanitation.

    9. Riverside Boulevarder says:

      I run or bike almost every morning starting sometime between 4am and 4:45am and I can attest to the menace that commercial garbage truck drivers are during that time period. They blow through red lights with abandon. Even if the young man was impaired, it would be hard to miss a garbage truck barreling down Columbus. Very sad.

      • Independent says:

        So you consider the benefits of running or biking to outweigh the risks of being out at that desolate, mostly still dark hour?

        • dannyboy says:

          Riverside Boulevarder,

          Don’t be afraid of the dark. More people out on the streets make it safer.

    10. WestSide_Mimi says:

      I think this tragedy occurred 3:00ish in the morning. As a former “almost run over person by a sanitation truck” several years ago, let me tell you I had the right of way as he turned the corner at 60mph. If I didn’t sprint to the corner, I would have been another statistic. The driver never stopped to see if I was okay but continued speeding down 66th street. In fact a doctor whom I knew, Dr. Carl Nacht, was killed by a sanitation truck while in the bicycle lane on the west side highway. Just saying.

      • 2 Handicap says:

        A garbage truck turned the corner at 60 mph? I don’t buy it.

        • WestSide_Mimi says:

          Regardless of his rate of speed, he was turning the corner recklessly and would’ve run over me if I didn’t sprint.

      • Sean says:

        Dr. Nacht was killed by an NYPD tow truck driver who was crossing the Hudson River Greenway (going to the impound lot near the Circle Line) and failed to yield to him.

        • dannyboy says:

          Two garbage trucks were making U-turns on 96 Street AT THE WSH EXIT last night as we exited the highway. Big surprise for the other drivers!!!

    11. Margaret says:

      Wait, who had the right of way?

    12. Steve says:

      “Evidence points to it being an accident due to the fact that it was a garbage truck.”

      So basically, Captain Holley just admitted that some drivers are above the law based on the kind of vehicle they drive.

      • dannyboy says:

        nice parsing

        “’Evidence points to it being an accident due to the fact that it was a garbage truck. He may not have known that he struck an individual,’ said Capt. Holley. “

    13. Gretchen says:

      This is Cooper Stock redux. How can this criminal driver get away with this yet again? Well, now we have to name yet another street for an innocent victim of driving homicide. They should investigate the 20th Pct. as well. I smell a very large rat.

      • dannyboy says:

        It is exactly at the crosswalk that Cooper Stock was hit that I told Helen Rosenthal that the divider and timing of the light were not enough. She had her response prepared in advance: ‘the benefit of the divider is that the elderly can cross and safely stop midway.’

        That was the best she could offer, but I could not accept that.

      • Independent says:

        “How can this criminal driver get away with this yet again?”

        Who says it was the same driver? Wasn’t Stock struck by a /cab/ driver? This was a private garbage truck driver.

        • dannyboy says:

          Gretchen was referring to this truck driver when she wrote: “this criminal driver”.

    14. Steve says:

      ANOTHER HIT & RUN
      25minutes ago on Broadway in front of Citarella tonight.
      I did not witness, was there a few minutes after

      Heard the driver sped away
      Victim did not look good

      So thats about 3 on Broadway 60s-70s just this month?
      What the hell are all these traffic cameras and stuff good for.

      • lynn says:

        I don’t understand the mindset of a person driving away after something like this happens. I’m assuming at this time of night the sidewalk and streets are still crowded? Are they high? Do they not think they’ll get caught? Where the he// are the cops in this neighborhood anyway? Did help arrive immediately?

    15. SveaT says:

      It is not sanitation. It is the commercial garbage and hauling vehicles. One speeds down my block at about 45mph every night.

    16. Betsy says:

      There is a very large sign at the corner of 61st & Broadway, asking that anyone who witnessed the fatal hit-and-run call the police.
      If no witness comes forward, I don’t see how Capt. Holley has any other choice but to reserve judgment.

    17. Rob says:

      Something is being left out of the conversation, to wit, the amount of time the DOT allots pedestrians to cross the street. For instance, at RSD at 79th Street, you must cross the SE corner to the NE corner within 17 seconds, quite difficult for a senior citizen and particularly one who has difficulty walking. The traffic at this intersection leading to the West Side Highway is anxious to get moving and it will only be a matter of time before we’ll be writing about a serious if not fatal accident. Question is, why allow only 17 seconds to cross this major intersection when only two blocks to the east, pedestrians get 28+ seconds to cross Broadway from any of the four corners? Typical of the DOT to ignore the needs of pedestrians and pay homage to the needs of motorists!

    18. Betsy says:

      Why did “the camera jump”? That is a serious matter needing probing.

      The site is right in front of the Trump International Hotel, one block north of the trophy Time-Warner Building, and across the street from the multi-millionaire residents at 15 CPW.

      If we cannot rely on our security cameras at such a target location, how can we trust them in less affluent neighborhoods?

      • dannyboy says:

        Maybe something fishy is going on at Trump International Hotel, or the Time-Warner Building, and or by the multi-millionaire residents at 15 CPW?

        • Betsy says:

          And you don’t have to fish far in that area to trace a whiff of money-laundering.