In New York County Criminal Court this week, the trial of 63 year old postal truck driver Ian Clement commenced. Clement is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident under Section 600 of the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law, which carries with it a maximum sentence of 7 years as a D felony under the Penal Law. The case involves an accident on July 2, 2011. 68 year old Marilyn Dershowitz, the sister in law of well known attorney Alan Dershowitz, was riding her bicycle with her husband Nathan on West 29th Street in an area which was clogged with postal trucks both parked and moving in and out of traffic. Mr. Dershowitz was riding ahead of his wife. Apparently Ms. Dershowitz attempted to operate her bicycle between two postal trucks when she was struck by the seven ton postal truck operated by Mr. Clement.
Ms. Dershowitz was pinned under the right tire of Clement’s truck. The prosecution claims that rather than remain at the scene and report the accident, Mr. Clement drove off, despite the screams of onlookers and honking horns of other drivers in the vicinity. Mr. Clement pulled the truck into a Postal Service parking lot at the end of the street, where a co-worker supposedly asked him: Did you see the terrible accident?” The Manhattan A.D.A. prosecuting the case, Erin La Farge, stated to the jury that “Practically everyone went to her side, except the person who caused her death.” She argued that Mr. Clement either knew, or should have known that he struck someone, but kept driving. Clement did acknowledge that he “felt a bump” and the truck shook somewhat, but he admittedly left the scene of the fatal accident.
Ms. Dershowitz died approximately one hour later at Bellevue Hospital.
In what I believe was a very dangerous argument to make to a jury in a case involving a fatality, Mr. Clement’s defense lawyer contended that: “The City would come to a standstill” if truck drivers stopped and investigated every honking horn or bump in the road. He further suggested that there was no one to blame criminally, and that the case was being pursued because of the notoriety of the Dershowitz family. In addition to Alan Dershowitz being a nationally known lawyer, Ms. Dershowitz’ husband Nathan Dershowitz is also an attorney.
Under Section 600 (2) of the Vehicle & Traffic Law, entitled “Leaving the Scene of An Incident Without Reporting”, “Any person operating a motor vehicle who, knowing or having cause to know that personal injury has been caused to another person, due to an incident involving the motor vehicle operated by such person, shall before leaving the place where said personal injury occurred, stop, exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for such vehicle, …and give his name, residence, insurance carrier…”
Due to the death of Ms. Dershowitz in the accident, Mr. Clement is charged with a violation of the most serious section of this regulation, and faces a maximum of seven years in jail and a fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000.00.
Contact The Westchester County Criminal Defense Attorneys online or toll free at 914-224-3086 if you have been charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or traffic infraction for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the charges that have been brought against you, your legal rights and options in detail.