In July, a driver with a suspended license was quickly backing up on Amsterdam Avenue to score a parking space when he ran over two women crossing the street at West 98th Street. Yolanda Casal, 78, was pronounced dead at the hospital while the other woman, her 41-year-old daughter Anais Emanuel, was hospitalized with injuries. Shortly after the incident, a witness told the Post, "They had the right of way and that guy just kept backing up. He was trying to get that spot." Now Streetsblog reports that the driver, 38-year-old Edwin Carrasco of Paterson, New Jersey, did not get off scot-free—he'll have to pay $500 as punishment.

Carrasco has a history of license suspensions and reckless driving, and although he was initially charged with driving with a suspended license, unsafe backing and failure to exercise due care, District Attorney Cy Vance did not pursue more serious charges. Streetsblog argues that he could have, under Diego’s Law and Elle’s Law, which were specifically enacted to bring about harsher punishments to drivers who hit pedestrians while driving recklessly.

In September, Carrasco pleaded guilty to aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, a misdemeanor, and will pay a $500 fine. The news comes in the midst of growing outrage about the city's failure to punish drivers who kill or injure pedestrians and cyclists—last month the family of Mathieu Lefevre, a 30-year-old artist who was run over by a truck in East Williamsburg, went to 1 Police Plaza to demand the NYPD explain why no charges would be filed against the driver. As far as we know, no explanation was ever given. (In today's Times, columnist Christopher Grey also laments the increasing dangers faced by pedestrians in NYC.)

On Wednesday, November 30th at 8:30 am, Transportation Alternatives, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the friends and families of victims of traffic violence will hold a large rally to demand that dangerous drivers be held accountable. During the rally, they expect to deliver more than 1,300 letters to demanding justice to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's door.