An administrative law judge declined to take action against the police officer who struck and killed 24-year-old Ryo Oyamada in 2013, calling the officer's actions "unavoidable."

DMV Judge Kathleen M. Whelan closed the case against Officer Darren Ilardi after presiding over last month's Department of Motor Vehicles safety hearing, held two years and two days after Oyamada was killed while crossing a street in Queensbridge. Both Ilardi and his partner Jason Carman testified at the hearing, claiming they were responding to an assault with a knife when they struck Oyamada.

"The next thing I know there's somebody in front of my car, I tried to swerve out of the way, and I struck the pedestrian," Ilardi testified.

At the hearing, the Oyamada family's attorney, Steve Vaccaro, presented video showing that Ilardi's vehicle did not have its emergency lights activated at the time of the collision—a fact Ilardi admitted at the hearing, despite the NYPD telling The New York Times that the lights were flashing. Vaccaro also offered evidence collected by the NYPD's own Internal Affairs Bureau suggesting that the officers were actually responding "to a different job at a different location," than the assault with a knife, and pointed to a New York City traffic law showing that intersections like the one Oyamada was killed at allow for pedestrians to cross mid-block.

In her decision, Whelan found none of this persuasive, and wrote that the video evidence had "no substantive impact." Whelan also noted that Oyamada was wearing dark clothing, may have been wearing headphones, and was legally intoxicated when he was struck:

The evidence in this case does not establish a violation of the VTL by Respondent. The Decedent's sudden appearance in an active lane of travel placed him into Respondent's path and made this collision unavoidable for Respondent. Under the circumstances, Respondent was neither grossly negligent nor in violation of any of the provisions of the Vehicle and Traffic Law or City Code.

The Oyamada family is in the middle of a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the City, arguing that the NYPD orchestrated a cover-up after Ryo was killed.

The lawsuit alleges that police dispersed witnesses, failed to measure the squad car's skid marks, destroyed video evidence, and that the Internal Affairs Bureau "set about changing the testimony" of Illardi and his partner after the collision. According to the suit, further evidence suggests that Ilardi had a poor driving record, and may have been using his cell phone when he struck Oyamada.

In addition to the wrongful death suit, the Oyamada family has sued under the state's Freedom Of Information Law to release the records collected in the NYPD's IAB investigation. While several members of the NYPD were present at last month's hearing, the IAB was not present.

"We are disappointed but not surprised by the result of this DMV hearing, which reached a determination without considering the evidence gathered by the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau," Vaccaro told us today. "That evidence is subject to a federal court protective order, but should have been made available to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles so it could fulfill its mission to keep dangerous drivers who cause fatalities off the street. The IAB should not have been permitted to boycott this critical regulatory process, which has resulted in license revocations and suspension in other fatal crashes."