Columbia Spectator: No charges for cab driver who killed Cooper Stock

The Columbia Spectator interviewed pedestrian crash lawyer Steve Vaccaro regarding the District Attorney’s decision to not prosecute the cab driver who killed 9-year-old Cooper Stock.

The taxi driver who hit and killed 9-year-old Cooper Stock in January will not be criminally charged and instead receive a ticket and fine, Stock’s mother Dana Lerner said she was told by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office on Wednesday.

Lerner said that the lack of criminal charges against Komlani was the result of the city’s “rule of two,” where the DA only charges drivers who have killed someone when they have also broken two traffic laws. Komlani was ticketed for failing to yield.

“It’s not an official law. It’s an interpretation of the law by judges,” Steve Vaccaro, a transportation and accident lawyer who has advised Stock’s family, said. “In cases where a driver plainly and egregiously broke a traffic law and injured or killed someone, judges have rejected a finding of recklessness, on the rationale that any one traffic violation constituted mere negligence.”

“I’ve sat down and talked with DAs on behalf of families.  DAs believe that they need to have very high conviction rates.  And that’s a good thing.  On the other hand, I think that 90% or plus conviction rate means they are not taking chances,” Vaccaro said. “You can get outcomes that are more favorable to greater public safety if you were to push a little harder against these driver excuses.”