A 26-year-old cyclist was killed in Brooklyn on Wednesday after he was struck by the driver of a passing truck—and once again, police seem to be blaming the victim for their own death.
Pedro Tepozteco, a Sunset Park resident, was biking westbound on 47th Street in Borough Park when he was run over by the driver of a box truck. Authorities found the victim lying in the roadway near the intersection of 17th Avenue with severe body trauma. He was transported to Maimondes Hospital at around 5:30 p.m., and was pronounced dead soon after.
The investigation into the fatality is ongoing. However, within hours of Tepozteco's death, police had determined that "the bicyclist fell into the side of the truck" as the driver was passing him.
It's unclear how such a conclusion was reached. A spokesperson for the police department could not say whether investigators viewed surveillance footage or spoke to witnesses before sharing their determination. "Investigations are fluid in nature," the spokesperson explained.
It's far from the first time that the NYPD has pushed a shaky narrative in the aftermath of a cyclist's death. In 2017, after a box truck driver killed 31-year-old cyclist Kelly Hurley in the First Avenue bike lane, a police spokesperson told the Village Voice that she "slipped off her bike," only to later reveal that the driver was committing a moving violation at the time of the collision. A few months later, the NYPD claimed that Citi Bike rider Dan Hanegby had "swerved" into the path of a charter bus—an account that was contradicted by security camera footage obtained by Gothamist.
"Whatever happened to 'courtesy, professionalism, respect?'" asked Joseph Cutrufo, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives, in response to the NYPD's most recent statement. "We won’t be surprised if a video surfaces and proves this officer wrong."
After last year's record-low of ten cyclist fatalities, Tepozteco is now at least the seventh person to be killed while riding a bike in New York City this year. Only one driver has faced charges in those deaths.