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Mother And Child Struck By Vehicle In Borough Park

Crash tragedy: daughter dies, pregnant mom gives birth

A horrific crash has killed a child and inured her pregnant mother in Borough Park, Brooklyn on Tuesday night, December 2, 2014.

A mother and her child were struck by a negligent driver. After being struck, the 33-year-old mother was pinned beneath the minivan. The accident happened just before 9:00PM at the intersection of 18th Avenue and 60th Street. FDNY and NYPD were on the scene in moments to extricate the victims.

Bilal Ghumman allegedly stole a Honda Minivan from Royal Parking garage. Ghumman works at a catering hall and it is said that he took the car from the garage to run an errand. Ghumman hit a 10-year old girl and her pregnant mother. The 10-year old girl, identified as Blima Friedman, was rushed to Lutheran Medical Center, and pronounced dead.

The mother remains in a coma in critical condition, unaware that she has both lost a daughter and given birth.

Ghumman, the driver of the stolen Minivan remained at the scene. He was arrested and charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle without the owner’s consent and was “slapped” with a violation on an active warrant for marijuana-based offense.

Residents in the area describe the level of reckless driving as, “out of control”. There is a total disregard for speed limits, stop signs, and red lights. Not only are the streets slippery due to weather conditions, but everybody is in a rush with an obvious disregard to the safety of other drivers and pedestrians.

Every year in Borough Park children are struck and killed. This horrific accident is yet another unfortunate, heartbreaking reminder that everyone needs to be responsible and alert when driving or crossing as a pedestrian. Wearing reflectors at night, being alert and responsible as drivers can do to stop road accidents, just being careful, as pedestrians and drivers.

“Traffic fatalities are always terrible, but when the victim is a child it’s simply tragic” said New York motor vehicle accident attorney, Neil Flynn. “This family will be shattered by the loss of their little girl, and it sounds like it all might have been avoided if the businesses involved had enacted sufficient security and employee screening procedures to ensure the driver
did not have access to the vehicle.”

New York City, with its congested flow of motor vehicle traffic, especially in the evenings, and on weekends, accounts for a great deal of car crashes each year. New York City including the 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island (Richmond County), Brooklyn (Kings County), and the Bronx has had a total of 1,109 fatal crashes in the 2013 year.” 1

“In New York state and city, drivers are rarely charged criminally if they kill another person in a crash, according to data compiled by the state and analyzed by The Wall Street Journal. That is because New York’s vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter statutes apply only to motorists who are drunk or on drugs—one of the narrowest standards for conviction in the nation, legal experts said.” 2

“In New York state, drivers were charged with vehicular manslaughter or aggravated vehicular homicide in about 5% of the 4,801 fatal crashes from 2008 to 2012, according the latest data available from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Motor Vehicles. These figures exclude Suffolk County due to data irregularities. In the same time frame in New York City, there were 66 arrests under vehicular homicide laws out of 1,298 crashes—also about 5%, the analysis shows.”

“Since 2008, the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents has remained relatively steady in New York City and in the state. But pedestrian fatalities in the city climbed 23.5% last year, from 136 in 2012 to 168 in 2013, according to police department data.”

Even if the driver of this vehicle was sober, since he was involved in a deadly crash it is possible that he can be charged with another crime, such as negligent homicide, manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter. Yet, that does not happen often because the statutes, in NY, require that there be a higher degree of “culpability than the vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide requirements that a motorist be drunk or on drugs.”

The NY Court of Appeals had a case before them in 2008 where they did not charge a limousine driver with negligent homicide, despite the death of another motorist. The court of Appeals reasoning in this decision stated that when the limousine driver realized and decided to make a U-turn, that U-turn “does not rise to the level of ‘morally blameworthy’ conduct required to establish that the defendant committed the crime of criminally negligent homicide.”

The standard of “moral blameworthiness” is the same standard in a fatal crash if one were to be charged with manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter.

Therefore, in order for a motorist to be charged, the prosecutor must prove that the driver “knew that he/she was driving recklessly or immorally.”

The New York law is a lot different from many other states. New York does not incorporate reckless or criminally negligent behavior into their statues. Unfortunately, there was a case against Julio Acevedo, who had run over and killed a man in Brooklyn and his pregnant wife. Acevedo was speeding during this time.

It seems as if these cases are happening too often, and people are getting let off the hook for the killing of an innocent pedestrian.

“Pedestrians have been killed in 17.5% of all collision fatalities in New York state and 54% in New York City.”

These statistics show that too many pedestrians are being innocently killed. With that being said, our condolences go out to the family of Blima Friedman, one whose live was taken too soon due to another persons actions.

It is discomforting to even think what one goes through when they lose their child. It is even worse to think when one lose their child due to the negligent, irresponsible, and illegal acts of another. Many would want to think the birth of a child should be a happy time, but it is unrealistic to think how this family can be happy at the birth of one child when they have just lost another.

At Ajlouny Injury Law, we see cases on a daily basis when the negligent acts of another cause serious injury, or even death to an innocent person. The laws that are in place now do not fully protect those, or the family of those people who are killed by another. No one should have to live their live knowing that the “murder” of your child is roaming the streets and got let loose with no ramifications due to there being no law in place directly on this issue.

The heartbreaking and unimaginable pain of the family of Blima Friedman, mother and baby, our heartfelt condolences . We don’t understand why these tragic things happen.

Chelsea Horowitz
Ajlouny Injury Law

  1. http://dmv.ny.gov/statistic/2013nyscrashsummary.pdf
  2. http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303465004579322441555410428

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