Police have charged the driver of the SUV that struck and killed a 9-year-old boy in Fort Greene yesterday with criminally negligent homicide. Anthony Byrd, 59, allegedly drove his 2000 Ford Expedition against the flow of traffic on DeKalb Avenue and slammed into three different vehicles before jumping the curb and killing Lucian Merryweather.
Merryweather's 5-year-old brother was also injured in the crash, but police say he is in stable condition. Their 48-year-old mother was uninjured, while an unidentified 28-year-old woman suffered a leg injury and is in stable condition. NY1 has video of Byrd's vehicle shortly before the crash.
Byrd remained at the scene of the crash, and investigators told the Times that he did not seem impaired. In addition to criminally negligent homicide, Byrd is charged with assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, reckless driving, driving the wrong way on a one way street, failure to yield, and two counts of operating a motor vehicle on the sidewalk.
Charging a driver at the scene is a relatively rare occurrence for the NYPD's Collision Investigation Unit, which investigates serious or unusual automobile crashes. At a hearing in September, the Commanding Officer of the CIS, Inspector Paul Ciorra, testified, "In the last 10 years, somewhere between 10 to 20% of the cases [investigated by CIS] will get closed to an arrest." Of the 189 auto-related fatalities recorded in 2013 as of September 1, 20 were closed with an arrest.
CIS's methodology is also unique because the unit consults the DA's office at the outset of nearly every investigation to determine whether criminal charges can be brought.