The New York Police Department is getting sued for not initiating investigations of car accidents. Last year on July 10, Fort Greene resident Jacob Stevens watched as his wife Clara Heyworth, 28, was struck by an errant automobile driver.
Clara was hurt, but alive, so the police investigation was called off later that day, even though the driver, Anthony Webb, 43, had an expired license and was suspected of drunk driving. A breathalyzer test administered on the spot showed 0.007 alcohol content but the test was ruled inadmissible because the device was not calibrated.
Clara died on July 14 of her injuries, but by then it was too late by then for a new NYPD investigation to be of any use. There was no trace of any evidence left, since the skid marks, surveillance video, and the suspected alcohol content in the driver's bloodstream had been wiped out. Anthony Webb was not charged for causing Clara Heyworth's death.
Jacob Stevens announced in a press conference that he is suing the NYPD because they have "failed to investigate hundreds, if not thousands, of other cases." The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on June 4, 2012 almost a year after the accident.
The Heyworth case is important because it alleges that the city is covering up vehicle crimes as car accidents to artificially keep the city's crime rate low. The AIS (accident investigations squad), which does all the forensic work if an accident victim dies or is, declared "likely to die" conducted 304 investigations last year.
They do not investigate if first responders or ER personnel label the victim as "not likely to die." In the Heyworth case, an AIS investigation was launched because she was labeled "likely to die" by a patrol officer at the scene of the accident. However, the investigation was called off shortly thereafter as Heyworth survived.
Did you know?
More people die in car accidents in New York than from gun shot wounds.
A total of 3,923 people have died in New York in car accidents from 2001-2010. That is more than the 3,882 who died from gun shot wounds in the same period. The NYPD investigates only about 10 percent of car accidents with serious injuries every year.