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Driver Who Killed 3-Year-Old Gets Tickets Tossed Out by DMV Judge

By Katie Honan | November 7, 2014 3:54pm | Updated on November 10, 2014 8:48am
 Ahmad Abu-Zayedeh struck and killed Allison Liao, 3, in 2013 as she walked with her grandmother.
DMV Judge Voids Tickets Given to Driver Who Killed 3-Year-Old in Flushing
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FLUSHING — A judge tossed out two tickets given to a driver who struck and killed a young girl as she walked with her grandmother, despite dramatic video showing the accident unfolding, according to the victim's lawyer.

The revelation, more than a year after the fatal crash, sparked outrage among Allison Liao's family.

Ahmad Abu-Zayedeh made a left turn onto Main Street at Cherry Avenue in Flushing on Oct. 6, 2013, striking the 3-year-old Allison and her grandmother Chin Hua Liao as they walked across the street, according to the NYPD and court documents.

Allison was rushed to New York Hospital Queens, where she was pronounced dead. Her grandmother was also injured in the crash.

Abu-Zayedeh remained on the scene and was not charged. However, he was hit with two tickets — failure to yield and failure to use due care.

The Liao family filed a civil suit against him in March at Brooklyn Supreme Court, where Abu-Zayedeh lives, citing his negligience.

But while looking into the case this week, they discovered that a DMV judge had dismissed Abu-Zayedeh's tickets in July.

"Just found out today that the DMV drop the two tickets for failure to yield and failure to use due care, for the driver who ran over my daughters HEAD!!!!!!!! I'm pissed!!!!!!!" Alison's dad, Hsi-Pei Liao, wrote on his Facebook page. 

The tickets were tossed despite the presence of an advocacy group and two NYPD investigators in Queens traffic court who argued in support of keeping the tickets, according to Steve Vaccaro, the family's lawyer.

Dashcam video from another driver on Main Street was also submitted as evidence, capturing the moment Abu-Zayedeh drove into Allison.


(Liao Family Testimony in Support of 19-190 and Crash Video from Vaccaro and White on Vimeo.)

"People can look at it themselves and make a decision about how a judge could possibly determine that the driver was not guilty of failing to yield to a pedestrian and failure to use due care," Vaccaro said.

A spokeswoman for the DMV confirmed Abu-Zayedeh was found not guilty and the tickets — which carried a penalty of $150 each if he was convicted — were tossed at a hearing on July 1.

The DMV has also scheduled a hearing for Jan. 6, 2015, which is protocol when a driver is involved in a fatal crash, she said.

The hearing will determine if he "has any culpability for the accident on October 6 that would result in any action being taken with regard to his driver license based on the vehicle and traffic law," according to the spokeswoman.

At the time of the accident, Abu-Zayedeh tested positive for alcohol in his system but was not above the legal limit, according to court documents.

He also was using an electronic device, according to the court documents.

Abu-Zayedeh was never criminally charged.

Vaccaro said that while each ticket "presents its own set of circumstances," this case had more evidence than most.

"If you don't even get a traffic ticket for something like this, how on earth can we expect to take their responsibilities seriously?" he said.