Wednesday’s Headlines: Crime and Punishment Edition

The victim's widow, Christopher Brimer, is hugged by a friend (left) while USPS driver Sergei Alekseev went home without receiving jail time for killing a cyclist. Photos: Kevin Duggan
The victim's widow, Christopher Brimer, is hugged by a friend (left) while USPS driver Sergei Alekseev went home without receiving jail time for killing a cyclist. Photos: Kevin Duggan

Two lives intersected in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday. One person went home to a life of misery, pain, anger and resentment without relief. The other person just went home.

As reported by Kevin Duggan yesterday, the Postal Service driver who struck and killed Jeffrey Williamson in 2021, and was found guilty of the misdemeanor last month, was sentenced to a fine, a driver’s education course, and a six-month loss of his driver’s license — a sentence so low that it seemed a parody of accountability.

“A driving course? If you kill someone with a car you should not be allowed to drive, ever,” said one Streetsblog reader on Twitter:

Williamson’s widow, Christopher Brimer, said she was stunned that driver Sergei Alekseev, who was only facing a 30-day sentence at the maximum, didn’t get even a day of his freedom revoked by Justice Marisol Martinez Alonso, who admitted she was moved by Alekseev’s tale of a downward spiral (complete with a mother back in Russia suffering from Covid)

“This is a very sad case all the way around. There are no winners here,” the jurist said before handing down the light sentence.

No winners? Perhaps. But one big loser: The notion that reckless drivers will be held accountable by a culture that treats road violence like just another unavoidable, tragic “accident.”

In other news:

  • The biggest story broke late: Speaker Adrienne Adams wants to expand Fair Fares, which seems more than fair, given that right now, eligibility rules mean that a family of four would have to earn less than $30,000 to qualify. (NYDN)
  • Ross Barkan is the latest journalist to see lithium-ion batteries as the most important public safety concern in the city right now. We agree that the microbility power packs are a concern. But unlike every journalist in town, our Julianne Cuba has been cranking out story after story about possible solutions that won’t destroy the livelihoods of 65,000 delivery workers. Lest we forget, her most recent piece about a city-funded battery swap will soon become law. Hey, Brian Lehrer, how about booking Cuba for an upcoming show?
  • Speaking of delivery workers, they got screwed again yesterday, as the Adams administration proposed a lower minimum wage than it previously offered. (The City)
  • The New York Times finally did a big roundup of national efforts to rein in parking requirements, yet it didn’t even mention the effort being waged by the mayor of the city that shares the paper’s name. Oh, well, we guess that’s what Streetsblog is for.
  • The Astoria Post did a well-reported (and well-photographed) story about the minor changes made by the Department of Transportation at the corner where Dolma Naadhun was killed, but the paper didn’t get into the issue of what really needs to be done there (which, again, is what we’re here for).
  • Somebody had to call bullshit on Long Island commuters. (Hell Gate)
  • The MTA is going to hire 800 subway cleaners to replace the outside contractors. (NYDN)
  • Yeah, wake us when one of these companies designs an electric vehicle that can carry 400 people from Jackson Heights to Midtown in 20 minutes. Then we’ll care about EVs. (NY Times)
  • The NYC Ferry system is back to its pre-pandemic ridership, which, lest we forget, was low. (NYDN)
  • Subway crime — whose numbers seem to rise and fall based, it seems, on what the city wants us to hear — is down again. (NY Post)
  • Main Street-Flushing got the latest MTA customer service center. (QNS)
  • Like Streetsblog, The Brooklyn Paper and Gothamist covered the roadway changes inside Prospect Park.
  • Friends of James Giambalvo, the cyclist killed last month in Staten Island, have set up a GoFundMe page to help his widow during what is unquestionably a terrible time.