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Queens Chronicle

Flushing hit and run inspires Council bill

Legislative bundle geared at aiding cops’ search for fleeing drivers

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Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:40 am, Thu Jun 13, 2013.

Seven months have passed since the fateful night Taysha Dominguez lost her husband, Dante, in a hit-and-run accident at the corner of 41st Avenue and Union Street in Flushing, with the driver of the vehicle still on the lam.

“To flee the scene? That’s heartless,” Dominguez said as she choked back tears, adding the loss combined with the lack of closure fueled by the driver’s disappearance has torn her family apart.

Two Queens councilmen, Peter Koo (D-Flushing) and Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan) have introduced a package of bills they hope will lower the odds of anyone suffering as Dominguez’s family has since Nov. 2, 2012. It combines greater oversight and reporting of incidents, while also increasing cops’ odds of nabbing a driver who fled the scene of an accident.

“Unfortunately, the driver has not been identified, apprehended or prosecuted for this crime,” Koo said. “We understand that the police have a difficult job and we hope that this legislation will create better communication and clearly define investigative expectations. More importantly, we hope that this legislation will lead to the arrests of more hit-and-run drivers so families like the Dominguezes get the justice they deserve.”

The councilmembers and Dominguez spoke on Friday at a press conference at the site of the accident.

The bill would require the NYPD keep the City Council abreast of all fatal hit and run incidents in an annual report, including details on the nature of the incident and what actions were taken to catch the culprit.

It would also allow the NYPD to collect surveillance footage shot by private businesses’ security cameras that were in the vicinity of the incident.

The proposal includes two resolutions requesting the state Legislature add red light cameras to 150 intersections and give property owners a tax credit for installing security cameras on their buildings.

The tax break is meant to broaden the net of surveillance footage by increasing the potential number of camera recordings police can tap after an incident.

“This is about providing relief to the Dominguez family and every family who has lost a member to a hit-and-run accident,” Comrie said. “This wicked person left the scene of the crime. It’s unfair for the Dominguez family.”

Inspector Brian Maguire, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, asked if any members of the public have information that could lead to the arrest of the driver that cost Dominguez his life, they call 1 (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

He reminded all drivers of the thin legal threshold that defines a hit and run.

“Getting into an accident is not a crime,” Maguire said. “It’s a crime to flee the scene.”

Comrie echoed calls for the driver who killed Dominguez to turn himself in, saying, “Come and lay your burden down.”

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