Driver in Friday’s Crash Has History of Multiple Arrests, Police Say

By Joy Bergmann

As WSR first reported, NYPD arrested Jessenia Fajardo, 38, of Walden, New York, after the 2011 Acura RDX she was driving crashed into and severely injured two pedestrians – local doorman Alfred Pocari and an unidentified 65-year-old woman – Friday afternoon at the intersection of 98th Street and West End Avenue. Fajardo has thus far been charged with two counts of failure to yield to pedestrians, operating a vehicle without insurance, disobeying a traffic device and failure to exercise due care in connection with this case, NYPD officials said.

A Manhattan District Attorney’s office spokesperson says Fajardo was released without bail and her case was adjourned until Wednesday, July 24.

Deputy Inspector Seth Lynch of the 24th Precinct tells WSR that the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad is continuing its examination of the crash. It’s unclear when those findings will become publicly available.

WSR attempted to reach Jessenia Fajardo for comment; our phone message has not been returned.

According to NYPD spokesperson Det. Denise Moroney, Fajardo has been arrested at least six prior times:

06-16-19  1st Precinct [Lower Manhattan] – Leaving the Scene of an Accident

05-01-19  44th Precinct [Bronx] – Aggravated Unlicensed Operator

05-18-17  44th Precinct – Aggravated Unlicensed Operator

05-31-16  44th Precinct –  Introduce Contraband to Prisoner [Bronx District Attorney’s 2016 press release here]

07-01-14  42nd Precinct [Bronx]  – Extradition Procedure Violation

08-31-06  33rd Precinct [Washington Heights, Manhattan] – Grand Larceny

We asked the Manhattan and Bronx District Attorneys’ offices for information regarding the dispensation of these cases e.g. convictions, current status, etc.

The Manhattan DA’s spokesperson provided a detective’s statement from the complaint in the June 16, 2019 “leaving the scene” matter that reports:

[The victim] was walking in the crosswalk at the intersection of Desbrosses Street and Washington Street in Manhattan, when he observed a motor vehicle turn into the crosswalk and run over his left foot. [He] then observed the driver stop the motor vehicle and get out of her car. [He] then told the woman that she had run over his foot and he was going to file a report.

The woman then returned to her vehicle and drove away from the location without providing Mr. ___ with her name, insurance information, or any other identifying information. He then pulled out his cell phone and took pictures of the above-described motor vehicle. 

I observed the photographs that Mr. ___ took of the above-described vehicle and observed that the driver was operating a gray 2011 Acura RDX SUV, bearing New York license plate number JER1919. I conducted a computer check of that license plate number and it revealed that it was registered to the defendant. 

The defendant [Fajardo] stated in substance to me: “I know the incident that you are talking about. I don’t believe that I hit him. I thought he was just exaggerating. This doesn’t make any sense. If I hit his foot, wouldn’t I have hit other parts of his body? I left when he went to call the police because I had to get to work. I am on probation.”

That case is open and pending, the Manhattan DA’s office says.  The August 2006 Manhattan case concerned Fajardo’s unauthorized use of a credit card number; in March 2007, “she pleaded guilty to Identity Theft in the Second Degree and was sentenced to five years probation,” the spokesperson says.

A spokesperson from the Bronx District Attorney’s office reports that in the May 1, 2019 Aggravated Unlicensed Operator (a misdemeanor) matter, Fajardo pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle without a license (a violation) and received a fine of $75; however a bench warrant was issued on July 3rd in the matter “because she did not pay the fine.”  She also pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle without a license in the May 2017 case. Fajardo pleaded guilty to the May 2016 charge of promoting prison contraband in the second degree and received three years probation. The spokesperson was unable to find anything in her system regarding the July 2014 “Extradition Procedure Violation” matter.

WSR plugged the New York license plate number of the vehicle involved in the Upper West Side crash into NYC’s database of Open Parking and Camera Violations issued by the City of New York. The system reveals 32 violations received since December 2018, including one in January for “Failure to Stop at a Red Light.” These reported violations are tied to the license plate number, not an individual driver.

Screenshot: City database of violations received by NY license plate JER1919 

Thanks to WSR commenters Mark, Dan and Robert [among others] for their tips.

NEWS | 43 comments | permalink
    1. B.B. says:

      Well what did anyone expect? Bill de Blasio and at least three district attorneys (Manhattan, Brooklyn and Bronx) have gone all in against bail and or detention. All this fits in with their goals of equality and closing Riker’s Island.

      We’re back to the NYC of 1970’s where things are pretty much a revolving door justice wise. Arrested and out on the street a few hours later.

      How this woman is still loose on the streets I don’t know, and obviously no one in LE or any DA office seems to care how much of a danger she is to the community.

      • Sarah says:

        Yeah, because forcing this lady to put up $5K to make her court hearings would…definitely…somehow…force her to change….? When convictions…don’t?

        • Rob G. says:

          Sarah, you’re right, she can’t change. Therefore, she needs to to be off the streets and behind bars, where she belongs.

          • arlene says:

            YES !!! How many others like this woman is out there.

            TOOO many, very inexperienced, very poor drivers in NYC

      • Clyde Frazier says:

        Agree 100%.

    2. Mark P says:

      Phenomenal reporting by Joy….as to what she found, I am speechless.

      There are means of using the city data in a reverse fashion to this – for example, finding the top license plates associated with a particular violation. I’ve created another Open Data asset that can do so here: https://data.cityofnewyork.us/d/ctki-bm5w

      For example, there is a plate, BCL7804, with over 100 school zone speeding violations across the city. Data points like that are always a starting point for further questions, not rushes to judgement; data can absolutely be wrong, as just one example. But one can imagine uses for this data. One top of mind being that high levels of violations should be red flags for review – for bad data, or bad people (in terms of breaking the law, at least)

    3. Jack says:

      How on earth can this danger to the public be released without significant bail? Someone like this has no respect for society, rule of law and safety of others and will most likely be driving as soon as she can get behind the wheel. For public safety she should be locked up until trial. My wife gets a ticket for accidentally driving in the bus lane for half a block and we pay the ticket. This miserable and selfish woman has many tickets outstanding based on the WSR query of the NYC DB. Thank You DeBlasio for letting people like this getting away with almost murder

      • B.B. says:

        Think things are bad now, just wait until that new bail reform law becomes active.

        • Pauly says:

          B.B. its sad but very true. These kind of repeat offenders will become even more commonplace.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          Let’s not let the reckless acts of this woman confused with the need for bail reform.

          If she is a danger to the community, then she should be kept in jail pending trial whether she is rich (can afford bail) or poor. Making the decision to keep her in jail pending trial is a decision of the judge.

          If her freedom does not pose a danger to the community, then it should not be based on whether or not she is rich enough to make bail.

          Bail is a terrible way to decide whom to keep in jAil pending trial. I have heard it cited that 20% of people currently behind bars have not been convicted of anything, but cannot make bail.

          I wish people would not politicize this terrible act.

    4. Dan says:

      With this record she just walks. Compare that, if you will, or if you dare, to the consequences to the food delivery bicyclists who get pulled over by the cops.
      At least one open bench warrant and she’s ROR’ed?

    5. Leon says:

      This woman is a menace to society and should be locked up for a long time. How she was able to be behind the wheel of this car is beyond me – she is a multiple time repeat offender.

      The Mayor clearly isn’t aware of the broken windows theory of policing – by preventing seemingly minor quality of life crimes, it prevents them from spiraling into much bigger issues. If someone has one minor offense, they should not be locked up forever, but this nightmare is well beyond her probation period in life.

      And every penny she has should go straight to the families of the victims. Unfortunately, I’m guessing there is not much there, but take it all away from her.

      • EricaC says:

        There’s a fair amount of data to support the conclusion that broken windows policing had nothing to do with the fall in crime (because it fell equally quickly in places that did not use that approach), and that the real change was simply the economic improvements over the same period. (Google it if you’re interested – I haven’t read it in a while and can’t provide citations.)

        • Rob G. says:

          Many of us lived through the graffiti-strewn Koch and Dinkins years. Giuliani may be a lunatic now, but his (and Bratton’s) Broken Windows worked. Don’t let revisionist history sway your sensibilities.

      • Clyde Frazier says:

        Agree 100%

    6. Fulano Juzgado says:

      Why was she repeatedly NOT sentenced to jail time? If there is no concept of judicial malpractice, then there SHOULD be, and these loser judges share in the blame for the injuries to these latest victims.

      Outrageous, dare I say CRIMINAL, failure on the part of these judges.

    7. AC says:

      Excellent piece Joy!

    8. Jen says:

      Looks like broken windows policy is a good policy after all.

    9. Jen says:

      @Joy Bergmann, thank you for the excellent report. Any way you can follow up and find out why none of these resulted in detention and jail time? Surely the judges were aware of her past crimes. Or were they? What was the basis of them to let her go?

    10. your_neighbor says:

      Obviously this person has learned to play the system with repeatedly breaking the law and always released without bail and convictions that amounted to nothing more than probation. If she had to spend even a few days in jail or at least put up a minimal amount of bail she might have thought twice about breaking the next law.

      Also remember, the crimes and charges listed in the article are only the times she has been caught.

    11. young man! says:

      I constantly see police cars parked on the side of major thoroughfares with license plate readers mounted to the trunk.

      Rather than just monitoring the population Orwellian style, can’t they be at least used to spot vehicles that have no insurance? DMV certainly knows when a vehicle’s insurance expires (insurance company is required to inform them I believe) – don’t they share this information with NYPD? At the least, share this with the NYPD traffic unit so the vehicle can be booted and taken off the streets.

    12. jimcash says:

      Nothing to see here. Just stay inside and pay your taxes.

    13. Nunzie says:

      This is a result of the corrupt, disrespectful, disgraceful mayor and his cronies who allow such violations to be ignored and or released without any consequences. The only people suffering are the victims. All you liberal government elites should be prosecuted and thrown out of office.

    14. Christine says:

      We feel so sorry for Alfred and his family who deserve none of the pain and anguish that the driver has caused. Alfred and his family and those who know and love Alfred will suffer the consequences forever. We hope and trust the driver is never allowed to operate a vehicle on our city streets ever again so that she can do no further damage to society.

      Please, if you haven’t already, consider donating to Alfred’s ‘GoFundMe’ page.

    15. Beth Williams says:

      The “unidentified woman” is a close friend of mine. She’ll now be in the hospital for months. Her life and career are ruined. So Jessenia Fajardo suffers no consequences?

      • Dana Lerner says:

        My son Cooper Stock was killed a block away 5 1/2 years ago. I am a member of Families For Safe Streets. We are a support advocacy group and we are here to help at anytime.

        Please let me know if you would like the information.
        danalerner34@gmail.com

        Cy Vance our District Attorney does not prosecute drivers who kill. This is another example of how his system is not working. More and more people will die bc of him. And our Mayor should be in NYC, not running for president. His job is not over and this city needs help.

        • Jane says:

          I was living on the UWS when tragedy struck Cooper Stock. It must be so heartbreaking for his parents to see tragedy again, and so close. NYC’s disregard for the wellbeing of pedestrians MUST have an effect!

        • s. tucker says:

          he’s up for re-election in 2021, but there will have to be a public campaign against him for these failures and a call for a formidable challenger who wants to reduce crime and not win a progressive activist popularity contest in order to beat an incumbent of a public office rarely given the attention and scrutiny it deserved.

    16. ScooterStan says:

      THANK YOU Ms. Bergmann and WSR !

      Quality investigative journalism LIVES !

    17. ben says:

      ‘released without bail’? so she can drive around recklessly and endanger more people? that a joke.

    18. Effy says:

      Great reporting!

      Keep voting Democrat for more of this…

    19. UWS resident says:

      How is this woman even allowed to drive a vehicle??

      She is clearly a danger, and needs to be punished and removed from the streets immediately!

    20. Justice for the Victims says:

      Folks stop complaining and being outraged. YOU voted these politicians and judges in (in the name of who knows what misplaced ideology), and endangered our community for generations to come. Shame on them and shame on you

    21. JB says:

      Great reporting, Joy!

    22. B.H. says:

      Sadly, the GoFundMe for Alfred Pocari reports today [July 24]

      by Migena Di, Organizer
      Dear friends, family and kind strangers,

      We want to thank you all for your kind words and support during this difficult time for our family. I cannot find the right words to write, as it hurts me deeply, to let you know that our dear uncle passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, July 24. It has helped the family tremendously to hear about how much he was loved and respected as a friend and at his job. He truly found joy in helping others and he will be in our hearts forever.

      Sincerely,
      Alfred’s Family

    23. az says:

      I’m very sorry to write that there’s a recent update on Alfred Pocari’s GoFundMe page saying that he passed away. RIP.

      When will the NYPD start giving out tickets and prosecuting drivers for traffic violations instead of just taking pictures of license plates that can’t be used as evidence since they’re associated with the car and not the driver?

    24. Justice for the Victims says:

      Can WSR please investigate how is a judge allowed to make such an outrageous decision? Isn’t anyone or any body holding him/her accountable? Whose interests is he/she defending? Surely not ours!

      • B.B. says:

        There has been a strong and concerted effort both in Albany and NYC (under BdeB and current city council) to end cash bail for all but the most serious felony arrests.

        Judges in NYC (who are mostly appointed by the mayor) have been given their marching orders, so to speak.

        Mayor and city council have latched onto the idea that cash bail is a form of discrimination which keeps the poor, minorities and others in jail for no reason other than they cannot afford to pay.

        https://www.syracuse.com/news/2019/04/new-york-ends-cash-bail-for-most-what-it-means-for-people-charged-with-a-crime.html

        Things only got worse when Cyrus Vance, the Brooklyn and Bronx district attorney offices all pretty much ceased asking for cash bail for low level offences.

        This all fits in with mayor’s plan to close Rikers Island. In order to do so the jail population of NYC must shrink enough so local community jails can handle. Part of this means less people will be held on bail.

        Elections have consequences people, you vote in liberal/democrat/progressives, and this is what happens.

        • Sarah says:

          Either she was dangerous to those around her, or she wasn’t. (Obviously, in this case, very tragically, very much so.) Whether she was able to put up bail would have nothing to do with her lack of skill at driving, her obvious contemptuous indifference to the safety of those around her, her refusal to learn a lesson from prior run-ins with the law.

          Seriously, the fact that this is a struggle for anyone to understand shows thinking practically strangled by bigotry. A rich person able to put up a high bail (and this is assuming she wasn’t) would have been just as deadly to those poor people. Bail has nothing to do with it! I’m not going to say dealing with cars killing people isn’t a political issue, because it is, but you could at least try to maintain some kind of basic sequence of logic here.

    25. Landis Olesker says:

      Time to start hitting these folks with REAL penalties. This woman should have the book thrown at her

      • NoMoreDeflectingtheBlame says:

        If you focused on the real killers in or neighborhood… CARS!!!!…maybe Alfred would be alive. Instead you ask NYPD to crack down on bicyclists. Time to wake up to the killers living on every block… CARS.

        • B.B. says:

          Cars don’t kill people; people kill people.

          Unless you’re talking about that demon possessed car named “Christine”, cars are under the direct control of person behind steering wheel.

          Driver of this vehicle shouldn’t have been, and now one man is dead, and another person gravely injured.

    26. Lorene Farnsworth says:

      This is outrageous. This madness will continue until our city authorities start cracking down. I live by Eleventh Avenue and 50th Street, I can’t even tell you how many cars I see running red lights every day, putting pedestrian’s lives at risk. They think it’s a game until something happens, then it’s everyone’s fault but theirs.