UPPER WEST SIDE — The cabdriver who fatally struck 9-year-old Cooper Stock last January after failing to yield at a crosswalk has been charged in the crash and is now facing jail time, the Manhattan DA's office said.
Koffi Komlani, 53, was charged Oct. 7 with failure to exercise due care and is facing a maximum of 15 days in jail and a $750 fine if found guilty of the traffic infraction, the DA said.
After the Jan. 10 crash, Komlani didn't drive again and then had his taxi license revoked on July 5, said TLC spokesman Alan Fromberg. His driver's license was revoked at the October arraignment, the DA's office said.
Komlani told police officers he turned onto West End Avenue from West 97th Street after following another car through a green light and didn't see anyone crossing the street, according to court documents.
"Suddenly I heard a boom. I never saw anyone. I accelerated to the left and stopped my car," Komlani told officers, the document said. "When I got out of the car, someone said to me, ‘You just killed a kid.'"
But the charge leveled by prosecutors doesn't go far enough, said Cooper's mother, Dana Lerner.
"He is not being charged criminally. He is being given a traffic infraction," she told DNAinfo New York. "This is not appropriate punishment for the crime."
Komlani's lawyer, Alan Farbman of the Legal Aid Society, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The tragic crash prompted City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal to draft new legislation that will result in the immediate suspension of any taxi driver who seriously injures or kills a pedestrian. Under the measure, which became law on June 23, the license of the driver will be permanently revoked if he or she is found guilty of a traffic violation during the crash.
Neighbors also pushed for changes to the intersection where Cooper was hit, as well as other dangerous spots along the avenue. In August, the DOT presented a plan to overhaul West End Avenue, adding safety measures like pedestrian islands to make crossing safer for pedestrians.