The man listed on an NYPD crash report as the truck driver who killed a Williamsburg cyclist has spoken for the first time. We placed multiple calls to the home of Leo Degianni last week after the family of the cyclist, Mathieu Lefevre, released a copy of the accident report. Degianni did not resond, but the Times is finally reporting on the Lefevre family's outrageous treatment by the NYPD, and reporter Jim Dwyer got a quote from Degianni, who left the scene of the accident and was not charged.
Degianni would not confirm that he was behind the wheel, and tells the Times only: "It hasn’t been proven yet. I have no comment." An NYPD spokesperson previously told us that the driver "did not know that he hit" Lefevre, who was struck at the T-intersection of Meserole Street and Morgan Avenue just after midnight on October 19th. Lefevre's family, who live in Canada, say the NYPD has refused to provide them with basic information and won't explain why the driver will not face any charges. In fact, they didn't even know the driver was getting off until they read about it in the press. An NYPD spokesman told Metro at one point, "That's why they call it an accident."
The Times article goes into the galling details of the family's futile attempt to obtain information from New York's Finest:
The 90th Precinct station house proved to be a House of No, as Ms. Lefevre described it: the family was told at the desk that there was no detective available to speak with them, that Mr. Lefevre’s property was not there and that no report on the accident was available.
So they waited. "After some time elapsed, I called the detective at the morgue, who had given us her phone number in case we ran into problems,” Ms. Lefevre said. Eventually, a detective in the 90th Precinct explained that the person handling the investigation of their son’s death would not be back for several days. “The detective we saw said he had no access to the information, that they do not share files,” Ms. Lefevre said.
After four hours, she said, they left.
And after a week of getting blown off by the NYPD, Dwyer reports that the Lefevres were "finally given their son’s belongings. They had been in the station house all along."
Last week, Transportation Alternatives has announced that they are conducting a comprehensive investigation into the NYPD's traffic crash investigation practices. Sadly, it seems there is no shortage of investigations to investigate; Streetsblog reports that a school bus driver was not charged after killing a man in the Bronx last night. The driver's explanation? "I didn’t see him."