Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, today introduced legislation to raise the penalty for anybody who leaves their vehicle running and unattended. The bill came in response to a tragic hit and run by a drunken thief who stole an idling car and fatally struck Alex Paul of Brooklyn and Robert Ogle in Middle Village, Queens, early in February. Another similar tragedy occurred weeks before in Chinatown when an unoccupied van was left in reverse and mounted a sidewalk, ramming into a group of preschool students, killing two of the children and injuring at least eleven other people.
“A few weeks ago, a seemingly avoidable tragedy struck my district,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. “Sadly, the death of the two young men, Robert Ogle and Alex Paul, may have been avoided if a man had not left his car running while shopping in a store. The current fine for leaving your car ignition on and unattended is five dollars. With this new legislation that I am proposing, the fine will be raised to two-hundred and fifty dollars to deter anyone from being careless with their vehicles. Leaving your car running and unattended seems like a minor, careless mistake but all New Yorkers must understand that it is irresponsible, dangerous and potentially deadly.”
Council Member Crowley was joined by Council Member John Liu, Chair of the Transportation Committee, as well as Mei and Brendan Ogle, in honor of their late son Robert Ogle, on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday before the bill’s introduction. Robert Ogle, 16, of Middle Village, was a junior at the elite Brooklyn Technical School, where he was a football player and an aspiring journalist. The other victim, Alex Paul, 20, of Cypress Hill, Brooklyn, had met Robert on Saturday night and the two were part of a group having fun around the neighborhood.
In partnership with the new law, Council Member Crowley is working with Council Member John Liu to implement an awareness campaign to prevent people from leaving their cars running while unattended.
PHOTO CREDIT:William Alatriste