According to Newser, a 61 year-old middle school Spanish teacher was killed by a NYPD Officer who was talking on her cell phone while driving. Officer Paula Medrano was making a left turn on Broadway from Hooper Street at approximately 4:30 p.m. this past Saturday when her police van struck Felix Coss, a pedestrian.
Mr. Coss and Officer Medrano both had the green light. However, police noted that Officer Medrano did not yield to the pedestrian. Also, police explained that Officer Medrano was not responding to an emergency at the time of the crash.
After eyewitnesses and police officers revealed that Officer Medrano was talking on her cell phone at the time of the incident, officers with Internal Affairs asked Officer Medrano to turn over her phone. However, she refused to cooperate. Consequently, her cell phone records have been subpoenaed.
Mr. Coss was just a few short blocks from his home at the time of the fatal crash. As of Monday, Officer Medrano was not charged with anything and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly declined to comment on any disciplinary action that might be taken by the department.
The impact of the police van hurled Mr. Coss over the vehicle and his head the pavement hard. Mr. Coss was rushed to BellevueHospital, but he was declared dead on arrival. Although the police have surveillance video of the accident, the driver in the police van cannot be seen on the tape.
Mr. Coss’s family and students are devastated and many in the neighborhood he lived in are besides themselves. Only time will tell if Mr. Coss’s family decides to sue Officer Medrana in civil court for wrongful death and negligence and/or bring homicide-related charges against her in criminal court.
We all know the dangers of using our cell phones while driving and how distracting they can be. However, an officer of the law should know better. No one is above the law, and police officers have just as much a responsibility (if not more) as everyone else when it comes to upholding the very traffic laws they enforce.
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