Dec. 24, 2013 By Christian Murray
Three days after an unlicensed driver struck and killed an 8-year-old boy on Northern Blvd, several lawmakers came out calling for tougher penalties for unlicensed drivers.
Noshat Nahian, a third grader at PS 152, lost his life when he was hit by a tractor trailer while crossing Northern Boulevard at 61st Street on Friday morning. The truck driver, Mauricio Osorio-Palominos, 51, was driving without a license.
On Monday, State Senator Mike Gianaris held a press conference at the site of the accident and announced that he had introduced legislation that would increase the penalty–from a misdemeanor to a felony– for those who kill or injure while driving without a license.
“The person who killed this young boy… can get off with little or no jail time or get off with little more than fine,” Gianaris said. “That is outrageous,” he said, as he called for harsher sentences.
“A little boy is dead because this driver was still on the road,” Gianaris said.
While public officials were not exactly sure why Palominos’ license was suspended, they did say he had a history of reckless driving.
Gianaris’ bill also calls for the immediate impoundment of the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license. “While we can’t turn back the clock [on this accident], we can make it more difficult for people to do this in the future.”
Sen. Jose Peralta, who said he would support the bill, said: “We need to send a loud message to anyone who drives without a license that this is not going to be accepted.”
However, public officials also noted that the lack of school crossing guards played a role in Friday’s tragedy.
The school had been calling for crossing guards at the very location of the accident since September.
“It’s disgraceful that the administration did not provide a crossing guard when it was requested,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Anyone who has been here for 5 minutes knows this needs a crossing guard.”
Meanwhile, Paul Steely-White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said that car accidents are the biggest cause of deaths among New York children.
Officials said that two children and a teenager had already been killed in accidents within a mile of Friday’s accident in the past year. Louis Bravo, 19, was killed in a hit-and-run incident at 58th and Broadway; Miguel Torres, 11, was run over at 80th Street and Northern Blvd; and Olvin Jahir Figueroa, 3, was struck at Junction Boulevard and Northern Boulevard.