An unlicensed driver who killed a pedestrian after jumping the curb in Fort Greene on Sunday night has been charged only with a pair of misdemeanors.
Victoria Nicodemus, 30, was shopping for holiday gifts with her boyfriend around 5:30 p.m. when she was hit by an SUV driven by 39-year-old Marlon Sewell, who later said he swerved onto the South Portland Street sidewalk to avoid hitting a bus in front of him. She was pronounced dead a short time later at Brooklyn Hospital. Nicodemus's boyfriend and a 75-year-old woman were also hospitalized with injuries.
Sewell was arraigned on Monday night, his charges limited only to third degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving without a license, both misdemeanors. The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives yesterday released a statement urging the Brooklyn DA to "prosecute this case to full extent of the law and send a strong message that reckless driving will not be tolerated."
Some local politicians opted only to gently encourage safe driving. A joint statement from Councilmembers Laurie Cumbo and Stephen Levin reads:
In a season when so many families are celebrating the spirit of togetherness, the Nicodemus family is faced with the tragic loss of their loved one. Safe and responsible driving methods are vital to ensuring the health and safety of pedestrians, motorists and all members of our community. We pray for the speedy recovery of the other two victims, who are thankfully in stable condition. On behalf of the 35th and 33rd districts, we surround the Nicodemus family with our thoughts and prayers. With the holidays upon us, we encourage every motorist to act responsibly and take extra care while on the road.
Asked by Gothamist whether either council member has implored the NYPD to increase its patrols of speeding and reckless drivers, a spokesperson responded that "we have not made that request, but hope to engage in conversation with the NYPD to increase pedestrian safety."
Nicodemus, an art curator, was especially in her element during the holiday season, pulling out all the stops when it came to decorations and gift-giving, her brother Hank Miller told the Times.
“I don’t know if I’ve still really accepted that she is gone,” he told the paper. “It’s devastating.”