MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT— The grieving husband of Marilyn Dershowitz, the sister-in-law of famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz who was killed by a postal truck driver while she was riding her bike in Chelsea last year, choked back tears Tuesday as he spoke about his wife's final moments.
Nathan Dershowitz, 70, a prominent criminal lawyer who lived in Tudor City with his wife of 50 years until her death on July 2, 2011, told jurors that they were out for a leisurely ride when he realized she wasn't with him.
He rode back one block to Ninth Avenue and 29th Street and saw a crowd of people, some of whom were screaming in the street.
"There was a commotion ... I yelled ... 'Is that my wife'?" he said, adding, "I saw her on the ground. I saw the bicycle bent."
When he reached the center of the crowd, he saw his wife laying on the concrete being cared for by a good Samaritan.
"She said, 'She can hear you, talk to her'," Dershowitz said. "I held her hand and said a few things to her and she squeezed my hand back." Soon after, paramedics quickly whisked her away.
Dershowitz held back tears as spoke of his last moments with his wife in Bellevue Hospital, while the couple's two children quietly sobbed in the audience of the courtroom.
"Twelve different doctors were working one her," said Dershowitz. Eventually, one of the doctors told him, "It's not going to work," he said.
He said he went into the hospital room, spent five or ten minutes talking to her, "kissed her and walked out."
The couple met at camp in upstate New York, when he was 13 and she was 12, he said. She left behind two children and four grandchildren, he said.
Ian Clement, 63, is on trial for crushing Marilyn Dershowitz's body with the rear tires of his seven-ton mail truck as she rode across 29th street near Ninth Avenue, then ignored “horrified screams”, honking horns and stopped traffic as he drove away, according to assistant district attorney Erin LaFarge.
Clement, a postal truck driver for 28 years, was charged with leaving the scene of accident without reporting the incident.
LaFarge said Clement pulled over a few times because of the commotion, but “did nothing” to help. Clement eventually returned two hours later and told a supervisor, “I think I’m the guy you’re looking for,” LaFarge said.
According to court documents, Clement told police he was headed down the street when a minivan tried to cut him off. He said he stopped to allow the car to go by and then slowly drove ahead when he felt a “bump” that slightly rocked his car. He stopped his car again and heard honks, but when no one approached the car, he continued on.
He admitted to police that another driver later told him that there was a “bad accident” on 29th street, but that he didn’t know he was involved, according to court documents.
Clement’s lawyer, John Arlia, argued Tuesday that his client had no idea he was involved in the fatal accident. Arlia added that Clement never saw Dershowitz or her bike and did not intentionally leave her dying on the side of the rode as people and eventually paramedics rushed to her aid.