FORT GREENE — The driver who fatally struck Victoria Nicodemus while she walked on a Fort Greene sidewalk last month will face additional charges, an NYPD inspector told her grief-stricken family on Tuesday.
NYPD Inspector Dennis Fulton said the department strongly believes there will be additional charges brought against driver Marlon Sewell, who is currently free without bail after killing Nicodemus and injuring two others on Dec. 6.
"We strongly believe there will be added charges," Fulton told Nicodemus' brother and sister at a town hall meeting Tuesday night at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, just around the corner where 30-year-old Nicodemus was killed.
“We are very confident in this particular case that we will find criminality,” he added.
Inspector Fulton did not say what new evidence had been presented that would allow prosecutors to add charges against 39-year-old Sewell, who received a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended license and was released without bail. He was not charged under the new Vision Zero misdemeanor, which was introduced in 2014 in an effort to increase penalties against reckless drivers.
Police say Sewell jumped the curb and hit Nicodemus as she was walking on the sidewalk on Fulton Street and S. Portland Ave. on Dec. 6.
Nicodemus’ brother Peter Miller asked officials at the town hall why Sewell, who had a history of traffic violations, was allowed back out on the street — with a working license.
“In a city that will move your car for too many parking tickets, or tow your car for misreading a parking sign, I’m wondering why there can’t be more done to immobilize a car or impound a car,” Miller said.
He also questioned why speed was not being considered as a factor in the death of his sister, who was thrown 30 feet after being hit by Sewell’s car.
Police say the driver was traveling within the 25 mph speed limit when he jumped the curb.
“The speed limit on the sidewalk is zero,” Miller said.
Sewell, whose license had been suspended at the time of the crash for failing to pay child support, had his license reinstated shortly after the crash. A judge recently refused prosecutors' attempts to suspend Sewell's license, saying that prosecutors couldn't prove it was needed because they hadn't brought reckless driving charges against him.
Sewell's car has been impounded as prosecutors investigate his claim that he was lightheaded at the time of the crash due to a carbon monoxide leak.
Sewell is due back in court on Feb. 16. Prosecutors at the Brooklyn District Attorney's office are still investigating, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The Department of Transportation officials said Tuesday that their long-term Vision Zero plan for the area involves adding sidewalk extensions to certain intersections on Fulton, including at S. Portland Ave., which director of pedestrian projects Sean Quinn called an “oddly entangled intersection.”
Sidewalk extensions, according to the DOT, shorten walking distance for pedestrians on the street, increase pedestrian visibility and slow down cars that are turning.
In the short term, the DOT plans to repaint crosswalk and street markings at Fulton and S. Portland by spring, once the snow clears.
Other improvements to Fulton Street include extending sidewalks at the Fowler Square and Putnam Triangle pedestrian plazas, and adding new turn lanes and sidewalk extensions at Bedford Avenue.
“Intersection by intersection… we are addressing Fulton Street,” said Sean Quinn, DOT’s director of pedestrian projects.