New eyewitness reports have come forth, shedding some light on the tragic death of middle school teacher, Felix Cross. Cross, 61, was struck and killed by an NYPD van driven by Officer Paula Medrano (assigned to the 88th precinct) on July 7th of this year. Cross was in a crosswalk on Hooper Street, crossing with the light, when he was hit. What first appeared to be a tragic accident now seems to be yet another New York City distracted driving accident.
Eyewitnesses have come forth to stating that Medrano was using her cellphone when she struck Cross at the intersection of Broadway and Hooper Street in Williamsburg. It’s possible that the distraction caused Medrano to overlook Cross as she made a left turn onto Broadway. In response, Internal Affairs investigators ordered Medrano to hand over her cellphone. When she refused, investigators subpoenaed the device.
While the Police van wasn’t speeding at the time of the accident, it struck Cross hard enough to knock him to the ground, causing him to strike his head on the pavement. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.
As New Yorkers know, talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel of a car is illegal in the City and punishable by a $100 fine and a maximum of a five point penalty on the operator’s license. The stiff penalties were part of a comprehensive plan which included a public education campaign to put an end to distracted driving accidents in NYC. Ironically, the NYPD is the first line of defense against distracted driving. While there is some evidence that the measures are working, clearly there is more to be done to prevent tragic and fatal accidents such as this one.
Cross, proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, was a veteran Spanish teacher and remembered by friends and family as a “loving and generous man.” An active member in his community, Cross had been known to pay out of pocket to provide neighborhood children with suits for special occasions (such as prom) when their families couldn’t afford them.
Don’t let distracted drivers ruin your life. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident because of a careless driver, contact a New York City distracted driving attorney. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation to learn your rights at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122.