A Shrine for Martha

DNAinfo writes about the tragic death of Martha Atwater, who was killed at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Clinton Street Friday by an out of control SUV. Accompanying the piece are two photos of an impromptu shrine on the spot where the accident occurred.

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  • Joe A

    1) law enforcement agencies generally do not release details of an ongoing investigation in progress

    2) you say we should start with Vehicular Manslaughter. That charge requires that the driver to have been drunk or high on drugs. Any evidence that that was the case?

    3) do you know that the car wasn’t impounded? That would be routine so that a safety check could be done

    4) in your hypothetical of someone shooting a gun accidentally, no that person would not be behind bars if indeed it was an accident and absent any other criminal activity. Unfortunately accidental shooting happen all to frequently.

    5) again, I know we are all upset because of this horrible tragedy and if it turns out this guy was drunk, or if he was on the phone or if there is any other evidence of criminal negligence I say throw the book at him but I haven’t heard of any such evidence as of yet. We don’t put people in jail for accidental behavior no matter how tragic the consequences may be. And if we really think about it for a moment without all the emotion, I don’t think we would want to.

  • AmityAndClinton

    Joe: I get it. You did law enforcement somewhere. Not NYC. Here’s how motor vehicle fatality cases work in NYC:

    1. Once NYPD has declared “no criminality suspected” the investigation is over.

    2. Correct. A driver basically must be drunk or high to be convicted of Vehicular Manslaughter in NYC. If the driver is sober, does not flee and shows remorse then NYPD will, in virtually every case, declare “no criminality suspected.” This SOP is wrong, unjust and needs to change.

    3. The vehicle is generally not impounded once NYPD declares “no criminality suspected.”

    4. Incorrect. Ask former NY Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress what happens when you fire a gun, even by accident and don’t injure anyone, in NYC.

    5. Point is: We’ll never know if he was on the phone or if there was criminal negligence. NYPD AIS isn’t set up to look for that. This is what needs to change. The system is broken.

  • Joe A

    Plaxico Burress was not arrested for accidentally shooting his gun. He was arrested for Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd Degree. One does not get arrested for accidental discharge of a weapon if no other crime was involved. Was Dick Cheney arrested for shooting his friend in the face?

    I’m done with this debate, you don’t know enough about the law to make it worth the effort.

  • A Neighbor

    Two questions re NYPD procedures:

    Is it SOP in a situation like this for the PD to administer a breathalyser? If not, why isn’t it?

    If a driver sys it was diabetic shock or a seizure or another chronic medical problem, is it SOP to follow up and put restrictions on the driver’s license or take it away?

  • petercow

    Has there ever been a case when the NYPD said “no criminality suspected”, and then the cops/DA’s office changed their mind?

    I can’t think of one.. and that means either they’re right 100% of the time, or as soon as they make that snap judgment, the powers that be stop giving a crap.

  • mlcraryville

    There are some who seem concerned about a leap to judgement or giving the NYPD a black eye and have questioned where the word ‘accident’ was used by the officials. According to news reports the exact official language at the scene at the time was “no suspected criminality.” In other words it was an accident. That is why we must get all the facts out in the open and continue to urge our elected reps to see that that is done.

  • harumph

    Thank you – your response is respectful and poignant. Let’s stop the conspiracy theories and begin to figure out a way to make the intersection safer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=631255472 Quinn Raymond

    I share our community’s grief and outrage over this tragedy. And without getting into the specifics of this horrible incident, it seems clear that pedestrian safety has not received the attention it ought to from any of us.

    The BHA’s Transportation Committee is holding a meeting this Monday at 6:30 PM in St. Francis College Board Room at 180 Remsen Street.

    It would be a good venue to have a constructive discussion about the broader issue of pedestrian safety in Brooklyn Heights.

  • mlcraryville

    this should be sent on to the BHA

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    A terrible tragedy indeed. However some people need to get a reality check. Accidents happen there is no way to prevent these things from happening. And why the vengeance (somebody must be punished) mentality? If no criminality is present, the driver is also a victim. Imagine living with the bourdon of having killed someone accidentally?

  • willowtowncop

    The police can’t administer a breathalyzer without reasonable suspicion- the driver smells like alcohol, has a flushed faced, is slurring his words, etc. otherwise the results of the test will be tossed out of court and the cop will be sued.

    As for the license the police department does not issue licenses and therefore can’t revoke them – a judge or the DMV has to do that. The police send their report to the DMV.

  • Packer Sitter

    I was hit by a bike messenger delivering food, just a few days after this accident and a few blocks away. I’m injured
    and he is free.

  • susan

    Reckless endangerment?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Where is the proof of recklessness ?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Maybe the accident was your fault?