The driver in a July crash that killed doorman Alfred Pocari and injured another pedestrian was charged by Manhattan DA Cy Vance on Thursday with manslaughter and two counts of assault.
Jessenia Fajardo, 38, was driving a 2011 Acura RDX SUV northbound on West End Avenue on July 19 at 3:30 p.m. when she drove through a red light at 98th Street and crashed into Pocari and a woman, the DA said. Both victims suffered severe injuries and were taken to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, where Pocari later died. The other pedestrian, who was listed in critical condition after the crash, has asked us not to release her name. Pocari was a beloved doorman at 785 West End Avenue.
Vance also charged Fajardo in a separate crash that occurred in lower Manhattan on May 21, when he says she drove through a stop sign at the intersection and over a pedestrian’s foot while the pedestrian was crossing inside the crosswalk. “The defendant briefly exited her car but fled the scene without providing any identifying information after the pedestrian indicated he was going to call 911,” Vance said in a statement.
West Side Rag had chronicled Fajardo’s driving record in a story this summer. Fajardo told us in an interview that she didn’t see the pedestrians before striking them. She pleaded not guilty.
Vance said Fajardo had repeatedly endangered pedestrians. “As alleged in this indictment, this defendant’s driving record demonstrates a history of disregard for our laws and the safety of her fellow New Yorkers. In the space of just three months, her reckless conduct included striking three pedestrians, endangering countless others, and causing the death of a beloved grandfather of three,” he said.
These are the full charges against her:
- Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
- Assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, two counts
- Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
- Leaving the Scene of an Incident with Mere Failure to Exhibit Documents, with Personal Injury, a class B misdemeanor, one count
- The Right of Way of Pedestrians and Bicyclists – Physical Injury, an unclassified misdemeanor, three counts
This woman needs to lose her license. Immediately.
What is the good of that?
People drive in NYS/NYS with suspended or no license all the time. This even after their drivers license was taken away due to numerous violations/offenses.
NYPD rarely does random checks any more; so unless a driver is pulled over for a valid reason (speeding, running a red light, etc…), chances of being caught driving with no or a suspended license is rather low.
Hopefully the defendant is convicted on all counts.
And we will continue to remember Alfred every single time we cross over West End at 98th street, walking from our to our home. May he rest in peace.
This is good, but why isn’t it manslaughter every time a driver takes out a pedestrian who has the right of way? What makes this case different?
She is, purposefully or not, a major harm to the UWS. Everyone knowing about this is harmed. We can’t trust red lights, stop signs, or even stopped cars.
Well done. People like this should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Total disregard for anyone but themselves when you do the same horrible thing more than once!!
Do the crime, do the time. So horrible that people had to die and suffer as a result of her terrible behavior.
Last week my kids and I almost got hit by a reckless driver turning left onto West End from 99th, crossing rapidly through the crosswalk (which had a walk signal) heading south in the northbound lane. I reported it to the 24th precinct who never responded to me. After Alfred Pocari and Cooper Stock I wonder how many pedestrians are going to keep getting mowed down on West End before there will be better enforcement of our traffic laws. Is there someone to report reckless drivers?
You can complain about the careless and the reckless drivers and the authorities who seem not to take the problem seriously but there are a lot of drivers in the city and some of them will be dangerous. Imagine how many of them are looking at their phones. A red light or a cross walk means nothing. There is only one effective solution: Take your life into your own hands. Cross streets, any street, with utmost care.
As someone who occasionally drives in the city I am always amazed at how reckless pedestrians behave. They do not obey the rules of traffic they dart out in front of moving vehicles, they and their poor dogs stand in the the street not on the sidewalk waiting for the light to change, they walk starring at their phones, and they don’t look all ways, in particular over their shoulders at a possible turning vehicle.
I am in no way suggesting that any of this occurred in the case of this woman who clearly is a reckless driver and deserve to be charged as fully as she was. This is just a suggestion to pedestrians to practice an overabundance of caution and obey the rules of traffic as I do when I’m on foot.
Well said! I’m amazed more people aren’t hit considering their inatention to what’s going on around them. They wear noise cancelling headphones so they can’t hear whats going on around them, they walk into the street without looking up from their phones, and they stand well away from the curb to wait until they can walk against the light. Driving to avoid pedestrians and crazy bikers is tough in this city.
First of all, thank you WSR for following up on this disturbing story.
Second, thank you DA Vance for not dropping the ball on this case.
The Manslaughter in the Second Degree offense carries a mere 1-3 years in prison. I would assume this charge will be easily “negotiated” down to a misdemeanor carrying even less of a penalty. In the end so much pain and harm inflicted by this absolutely reckless person responded to with so little punishment. Do you think this will deter other reckless drivers from harming others and be more careful? I didn’t think so and I hope it won’t be any of us and our beloved ones the next victims who are left with very little, disproportionately little justice after such losses of beloved ones.