Emmy-award winning TV writer Martha Atwater, 48, had just bought five cookies and exited Bagel Cafe in Brooklyn Heights Friday evening when the driver of a black Honda pickup truck jumped the curb and killed her.
But one thing from the initial coverage that stuck with me was this:
"The 53-year-old driver may have lost consciousness because of his diabetes, a police source said."....The police say there is no criminality suspected.
It's an all too common refrain. At least on a weekly basis and sometimes more than once a day someone driving a car in our city mows down a pedestrian.
I asked attorney Steve Vaccaro of Vaccaro & White about blood tests for drivers of vehicles involved in crashes where fatalities occur. "A driver can withhold consent to a blood test. If the driver refuses, the police need a warrant signed by a judge. To get the warrant, the police have to submit an affidavit swearing that they have reasonable suspicion of impairment, such as slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol or illegal drugs," Vaccaro said.
Now look, I'm a longstanding, card-carrying member of the ACLU. But that standard is too strict. The very fact of a fatal accident should serve as probable cause to draw a blood sample. I'm not suggesting that this driver was impaired. But a police investigation that does not include blood work is woefully inadequate. A blood test for any driver involved in a fatal accident should be standard operating procedure. Justice demands no less.