The suspect was identified as 55-year-old Susan Liebowitz. Police reports indicate that the victim, 57-year-old Francine Labarbara, was carrying groceries and attempting to cross the street at the time of the deadly crash. Labarbara was near her home when she was killed and was returning from the Key Food Supermarket.
Liebowitz is now facing charges for “leaving the scene of an accident, failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care.”
Hit-and-run accidents have not declined in New York City even while traffic fatalities have been decreasing. In fact, the number of people killed in hit-and-run pedestrian accidents has increased. Part of the issue is that many of these drivers are never apprehended or charged for their crimes. In NYC, only about 1 percent of hit-and-run drivers are ever caught. Of course, the overwhelming majority of these accidents only cause property damage. The rate of hit-and-run drivers who are caught after causing injuries is slightly higher, but even in cases of deadly hit-and-runs, or hit-and-run crashes that cause severe injuries, less than half of drivers are ever caught.
The city started an alert system in an effort to aid police in catching drivers who flee the scene of serious crashes. The system alerts those in the area of the accident so that they can help to report about sightings of the suspect or the vehicle. The program will hopefully help police hold these drivers accountable and deter other drivers from attempting to run away from the scene of crashes.
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