Video of Fatal Marilyn Dershowitz Accident Contradicts Driver's Account
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A video of Marilyn Dershowitz's fatal bike accident in Chelsea last summer contradicts statements the postal worker accused of hitting the sister-in-law of famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz made to police, a detective told jurors Wednesday.
"He had said one thing and the video showed the complete opposite," NYPD Detective Victor Rivera testified after jurors watched surveillance footage that captured portions of Dershowitz's tragic ride across 29th Street near Ninth Avenue July 2, 2011.
Postal worker Ian Clement, 63, crushed Marilyn Dershowitz's body with the rear tires of his 7-ton mail truck as she biked across 29th Street, then ignored screams, honking horns and stopped traffic as he drove away, prosecutors said.
The video does not show the accident, but jurors watched Dershowitz's husband, Nathan Dershowitz, a prominent criminal lawyer, as he rode his bike across 29th Street, followed moments later by Marilyn Dershowitz, and then Clement's large mail truck.
According to court documents, Clement told police he was headed down the street — which was lined with postal trucks — when a minivan tried to cut him off. He said he stopped to allow the car go by and then slowly drove ahead when he felt a “bump” that slightly rocked his car.
Clement told police he stopped his truck again and heard honks, but when no one approached him, he continued driving.
But video footage shows that Clement passed a minivan — rather than stopping to allow the minivan to pass him, as he told police.
Then, as Clement passed a large trailer that jutted 6 feet out into the crowded roadway, a jolt rocked his truck, the video shows.
Dershowitz was reportedly hit as she squeezed by Clement's truck and the trailer, but she was not visible at that moment in the video.
Later, the video shows Dershowitz being placed on a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance. The footage also shows people rushing to her aid and traffic stopping.
In the video, Clement's postal truck could be seen stopping after the accident with the hazard lights briefly flashing. He then drove away.
Prosecutors said Clement, charged with leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it, pulled over because of the commotion, but “did nothing” to help.
Clement eventually returned an hour later and told supervisor Marina Garcia, “I think I’m the guy you’re looking for,” Garcia testified during trial.
Clement told police another driver later told him that there was a “bad accident” on 29th Sreet, but that he didn’t know he was involved, according to court documents. He also said he saw a biker in front of him at some point.
Clement’s lawyer, John Arlia, maintained that his client did not know he was involved in the fatal crash. Arlia said that Clement never saw Dershowitz and did not intentionally leave her dying on the side of the road as bystanders and later paramedics rushed to her aid.
Prosecutors initially declined to press charges against Clement, but after further investigation, in November of 2011, they indicted the 28-year veteran of the postal service.
Detective Rivera said he and prosecutors decided to reinterview Clement after watching the video and collecting more evidence because he felt Clement was "hiding something."
Arlia, however, has tried to suggest that charges were brought against Clement because of the influence of the Dershowitz family.
Arlia grilled Rivera about whether or not he or prosecutors had ever received a call from either Nathan or Alan Dershowitz — and whether the conversation was "acrimonious or cordial."
Rivera said a prosecutor told him that one of the Dershowitz brothers had contacted him, though he couldn't remember who, and "let him know that he was not happy with the way the case was being handled."