Pols call for steps to catch hit-and-run drivers
by Shane Miller
Jun 05, 2013 | 713 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Elected officials used the case of an unsolved Flushing hit-and-run accident to call for new measures to make it easier for police to track down deadly drivers.

Dante Dominguez, a 45-year-old father of three, was hit and killed at the intersection of 41st Avenue and Union Street on November 2, 2012, just before midnight. The only information investigators had to go on was that the car the hit Dominguez was a black BMW.

The driver has never been caught.

“To flee the scene is heartless,” said Dominguez's wife, Taysha Dominguez, surrounded by friends and family last Thursday afternoon at the fatal intersection. “This was no longer an accident once the driver fled the scene.”

They were joined by City Council members Peter Koo, Leroy Comrie, and Rosie Menedez, who are pushing a package of measures to aid in the investigation of hit-and-run accidents.

“This is not just about justice for the Dominguez family,” said Mendez, who knew Dominguez's mother, “but justice for everyone.”

One piece of legislation would require the NYPD to report annually to the City Council on hit-and-run accidents that cause serious injury or death, as well as details of the subsequent investigation.

In addition to that bill, a series of resolutions will be introduced calling on the state legislature to take action. These include mandating that officers collect video surveillance from cameras in the vicinity of hit-and-run accidents, as well as authorization for more red light cameras and a speeding camera pilot program.

“This is about providing relief to the Dominguez family and every other family that has suffered a loss to a tragic hit and run,” said Comrie. “We need to make sure the police have the resources they need to find the drivers responsible for them.”

Another resolution calls for the state to implement a tax credit for property owners that install surveillance cameras. The City Council has yet to vote on the measures.

“We hope this legislation will lead to the arrests of more hit-and-run drivers so families like the Dominguez family get the justice they deserve,” said Koo.

Even when a perpetrator is identified, it can be difficult to prosecute. A felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident requires that prosecutors prove the driver knew that an accident causing severe injury had occurred.

According to data compiled by the website Streetsblog, at least 37 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by hit-and-run drivers since 2012. Inspector Brian Maguire of the 109th Precinct, where four hit-and-run accidents occurred last year alone, reminded drivers of the consequences.

“Getting into an accident is not a crime, fleeing the scene is a crime,” he said.

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