On Monday, 66-year-old Brookyln rabbi Yekutiel Rapp was killed after a livery cab driver allegedly struck him while he was crossing the street near his Crown Heights home, then ran over him two more times. The driver was not arrested on the scene of the crash and has not been charged with a crime.
According to witnesses who spoke with CrownHeights.info and DNAinfo, the driver was backing out of a parking space when he hit Rapp near Balfor Place and Empire Boulevard, then ran over him again in an apparent attempt to free him from under the car. From DNAinfo:
In the chaotic scene that followed, the driver drove forward over the rabbi then backed over him again, witnesses said.
“People were screaming, ‘Stop the car,’” said Josh Fish, who witnessed the aftermath of the fatal incident. “He backed up over the guy three times.”
Another witness said a group of ten to 15 onlookers rushed over to the cab and tried to lift it off the crushed man.
“There was was blood on his face,” Calvin Thomas, 56, said. “I was scared for the guy.”
After he was freed, Rapp was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he died.
According to ABC 7, an NYPD investigation into Rapp’s death remains open, so it’s theoretically possible that the driver will be charged eventually. But if he is, it would come as a surprise. According to data from WNYC, 60 pedestrians have been killed in traffic so far in 2015, and the Wall Street Journal reported last year that only five percent of fatal crashes in the city between 2008 and 2012 resulted in an arrest. In all likelihood, the driver who killed Rapp won’t only escape charges; he’ll be allowed to continue driving his livery cab.