Thursday’s Headlines: A Small Victory Edition

This is where Kwok Kwan was killed. Photo: Google
This is where Kwok Kwan was killed. Photo: Google
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The taxi driver whose passenger caused the death of 66-year-old cyclist Kwok Kwan last year when the customer doored him onto the roadway in front of the Javits Center will be forbidden from driving for a year, a judge ruled last week.

The case dates back to Jan. 16, 2022, when Kwan was killed on 11th Avenue near W. 37th Street after Anthony Freytag opened the rear passenger door of the Toyota taxi driven by 42-year-old Dipu Ghosh. Ghosh was illegally stopped in a pedestrian crosswalk, six feet from the curb, partially in both the traffic lane and the west side bus lane — in violation of two traffic laws.

Our own Julianne Cuba reports that after a virtual hearing last month, administrative law judge Jettie Thomas found Ghosh guilty of violating two traffic laws, including discharging a passenger more than within 12 inches from the curb — VTL 4-11 (c) — and within a pedestrian crosswalk — VTL 4-11 (c)(1) — according to the judge’s decision.

Each infraction earned Ghosh a 180-day license suspension — a first in a so-called “dooring” case, according to attorney Dan Flanzig, who is representing Kwan’s family and called the ruling a small victory.

“After attending over 20 fatality hearings over the last 25 years, this is the first suspension I am aware of when the vehicle was not moving at the time of the crash and that the unlawful position of the vehicle alone was the basis for the driver’s suspension,” said Flanzig. “Obviously the passenger also bears responsibility for opening the car door into the path of Mr. Kwan, but it’s clear that the unlawful position of the cab also contributed to the crash. The family is still grieving the loss of their father and are glad to see that at least some action was taken by the DMV.”

Flanzig says he is also in the process of suing Freytag as well as the employer he was working for at the time of the fatal crash.

In other news:

  • The top story yesterday was that transit fares are going up — but it’s unclear by how much. The Post played up the doomsday, The City and Crain’s played up the desperation, while the Daily News, Gothamist and amNY played it straight.
  • What could possibly go wrong? More people are raising questions about Mayor Adams’s decision to let cops decide on the spot whether a person sleeping in the subway needs to be forcibly institutionalized. (NY Times, Gothamist, Hell Gate)
  • Who wants to be the city’s “rat czar”? (And why do we call any government position overseeing a very narrow social problem a “czar”?) (Gothamist)
  • A hit-and-run driver injured four people, including two kids getting off a school bus, in Brooklyn. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • More racism by Nassau County cops. (Gothamist)
  • People don’t really want to drive, but in some neighborhoods, they have no choice, which is the story of Cross-Bronx Expressway victim Shelly Vilsaint. (NYDN)
  • The Times looked at e-bike batteries.
  • Amtrak is doing better all of a sudden. (Reuters)
  • Here’s something gross: Every staffer at Semafor got his or her name on a license plate. (CJR)
  • Christopher Robbins is a delightful Scrooge. (Hell Gate)
  • The illegal moped rider who killed actress Lisa Banes got one-to-three years. (NYDN, NY Post, NY Times)
  • In other court news, the woman who drove through a Black Lives Matter protest two years ago is still crazy — she turned down a favorable plea deal and is now facing seven years if found guilty. (NY Post)
  • And, finally, the Tyre Extinguishers have made it to DUMBO. We covered them earlier this year: