NYC Council Members Respond to Two Fatal Hit and Run Crashes Over Brutal Weekend

Council Members Rodriguez, Levin and Treyger to Call for Drivers to Turn Themselves In After Each Fled the Scene

BROOKLYN, N — Following a weekend where two separate fatal hit and run crashes occurred in Brooklyn, Council Members Rodriguez, Levin and Treyger gathered at the site of one of the two fatal hit and runs to urge those responsible to turn themselves in. At this time, the perpetrators of both fatal hit and runs are at large and the search by the NYPD is ongoing.

Early Saturday morning, 27-year old Neftaly Ramirez was riding his bike home after a long day at work when he was struck by what is thought to be a green private garbage truck. The vehicle did not stop and Neftaly Ramirez was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. The crash, which occurred on Franklin Street and Noble Street in Greenpoint, marked the 11th cyclist death to occur in 2017. 

On Sunday afternoon, 18-year old Alejandro Tello was killed by a driver in a white BMW SUV as he rode across the street on his skateboard in Gravesend, Brooklyn. The driver ran him over, leaving him in critical condition in the middle of the street as they sped away. Mr. Tello passed away hours later at Maimonidies Medical Center where doctors were unable to revive him. 

"These tragic deaths demonstrate the horrific consequences of drivers not respecting cyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians as equal partners on the road,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of 18-year old Alejandro Tello and 27-year old Neftaly Feliz during this incredibly difficult time. The drivers who so callously struck these individuals must do the right thing and come forward so that justice can be served. "

"The hit and run drivers who killed Neftaly Ramirez and Alejandro Tello are evading the law, and that is simply unacceptable,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Two young lives have been cut short, but our pursuit of justice, from Gravesend to Greenpoint, will not be broken."

“After a violent weekend where we saw two lives lost to vicious hit and run drivers, we are demanding accountability and for these drivers to turn themselves in,” said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “The terrible scourge of hit and runs in our city must end and this can only happen when drivers know they will be caught and punished. We are committed to working with the NYPD to find these suspects because the families of Alejandro Tello and Neftaly Ramirez deserve this justice.”

“Regrettably, this is not the first time tragedy has struck this neighborhood, or any street in this City for that matter,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “But if nothing changes, it certainly won’t be the last. I’m appealing to the perpetrator’s basic humanity and asking them to turn themselves in. Neftaly Ramirez was just leaving work, engaged to be married, and by all accounts a beloved member of the community, and his life was cut short. This is not acceptable.”

"Alejandro Tello was a young man with his entire life ahead of him,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. “He was preparing to go to college and pursue a career in law enforcement. He did not have the option of walking or riding away from the scene of the crash that ultimately resulted in him losing his life. Neither did Neftaly Ramirez or any of the other dozens of people who lose their lives as a result of hit-and-run crashes in our city every year. These heartbreaking tragedies must strengthen our resolve to prosecute anyone inhumane enough to leave the scene of an accident and put a stop to hit-and-runs once and for all."
 
“The two recent hit-and-runs, which both resulted in fatalities, highlight the need for a stronger emphasis on traffic safety,” said Council Member Vincent Gentile. “It is increasingly evident from these two tragedies that stronger laws are needed for drivers who leave the scene of an accident. I am a prime co-sponsor and strongly support Council Member Rondriguez’s bill, which would provide for a reward for individuals who provide information leading to the apprehension, arrest, or conviction of an individual involved in a hit-and-run. This bill will mobilize the public in helping to ensure that drivers involved in hit-and-runs are identified, as many hit-and-runs remain unsolved.”

Though they represent different neighborhoods, the elected officials were unified in their call to justice and a renewed effort to increase accountability in New York City. While there have been signs of improvement, incidents such as the recent deaths of Neftaly Ramirez and Alejandro Tello show there is much more work to be done. If anyone has any information related to the perpetrators of these crimes, please contact the NYPD tips hotline at 800-577-TIPS.
 

Beyond Violence and Hate

Stephen Levin is a New York City Council Member representing the 33rd District. 

Stephen Levin is a New York City Council Member representing the 33rd District. 

Like many Americans across the country, I am appalled to hear news of the recent rise of violence and hate in the wake of the presidential election. In light of these troubling events, it is clear the pursuit of a more perfect union is far from over. However, until this weekend, I didn't believe that such violence could find its way into our neighborhood. On Saturday night, after an election related argument, a male Donald Trump supporter punched a woman at a Boerum Hill restaurant. This violent act, condemnable no matter where it occurred, is particularly troubling considering its sharp contrast with our community values. We do not tolerate violence and we do not tolerate hate.
 
Such a brazen attack so close to home dispels the notion that the more tolerant communities of Brooklyn are somehow immune to the effects of the vitriol fueled violence. As Saturday’s incident demonstrates, we are not. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there have been more than 300 incidents of “hateful harassment and intimidation” reported nationwide since election day. In just a week, more incidents have been reported than the preceding 6 months altogether. These attacks not only directly harm victims, they also threaten to plunge society under an oppressive shadow of fear and despair.
 
Though many of us have been caught off guard, we cannot lose sight of our communal values. How do we move forward? Share with one another. Volunteer your time and talents to help your fellow neighbor. Engaging with your community at an individual level is important now more than ever. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Let us reaffirm our love for one another. Let us come together as a community unashamed, unrelenting, and united.