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NYPD Use New Law in Pedestrian Death on Madison Avenue

By Amy Zimmer | February 10, 2011 6:24pm
Jason King was crossing Madison Avenue at 81st Street when he was killed Dec. 7.
Jason King was crossing Madison Avenue at 81st Street when he was killed Dec. 7.
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DNAinfo/Jennifer Glickel

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — Police used a new traffic law for the first time to issue a summons against the dump truck driver who fatally struck Jason King while he was crossing Madison Avenue at 80th Street in December.

The NYPD used Hayley and Diego's Law — named after two preschoolers in Chinatown who were killed by an idling car — in charging Anthony Regisford for illegally backing up his truck and fatally striking the 21-year-old student on Dec. 7.

Upper East Siders have been reeling from the death of King and of 35-year-old fashion stylist Laurence Renard, who was run over by a dump truck while crossing First Avenue at 90th Street on Jan. 24.

Hayley and Diego's law requires drivers to exercise "due care" around pedestrians and cyclists — or face possible fines or jail time for causing injury. Using it triggers Elle's Law — named for an Upper East Side preschooler who landed in a coma after she was hit by a driver backing up — which increases the length of a license suspension whenever a driver is convicted of seriously injuring a victim under Hayley and Diego's law.

Just a few days after Upper East Siders confronted police about why these new stiffer penalties hadn't been used in these incidents, advocates from Transportation Alternatives learned they were mistaken and that the summons against the dump truck driver was issued two weeks after King's death.

"The Police Department has shown it can respond to top community concerns," Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement. "The NYPD has set a powerful example by issuing the first summons under Hayley & Diego's Law."

The police department's Highway Patrol investigators made the decision to use the new rule, noted Lindsey Lusher Shute, state policy director for Transportation Alternatives. She hoped the sanctions would be used in other accidents where pedestrians or cyclists are injured, but perhaps not gravely enough to warrant Highway Patrol investigations.

"It's going to have to be accepted by precincts across the city for this to take effect," she said.