Remembering Clara Heyworth, And The Unlicensed Driver Who Killed Her Without Consequence

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By Emma Whitford in Gothamist

Friends and family of Clara Heyworth, a 28-year-old woman who was struck and killed by an unlicensed driver four years ago in Fort Greene, gathered with traffic safety advocates on Sunday at the intersection where she died to dedicate her memorial.

Anthony Webb, the driver who struck Heyworth in July 2011, had a blood alcohol content of .07 an hour after the collision, suggesting that he was over the legal limit of .08 when he struck Heyworth. He was also driving with a learner’s permit that prohibited him from operating the vehicle without supervision.

But it took three days for the Accident Investigation Squad [AIS] (later renamed the Collision Investigation Squad) to investigate the scene of the crime, at the corner of DeKalb and Vanderbilt Avenues in Fort Greene. By that time, security camera footage and skid marks were gone or rendered useless, and witnesses had long dispersed.

Webb was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, reckless driving, and operation of a motor vehicle by an unlicensed driver, but those charges were ultimately dropped by the DA, due to lack of investigation. About a year after the incident, in August 2012, a judge rejected the DA’s recommendation for a 15-day jail sentence for Webb.

Heyworth’s husband, Jake Stevens, filed suit against the NYPD for a faulty investigation that June. In his remarks on Sunday, Stevens said, “Clara was killed here just under four years ago. She will be forever 28 years old, newly arrived in the US, newly married, full of life and passionate commitment, and loved by all of us.” He added, “Fuck the police. The police… failed to investigate her death, the DA failed to prosecute, and in doing so they failed all of us. There has not been, and there will not be ever, any justice for Clara.”

Under the Right of Way law, instated last August as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero safety plan, failing to yield to pedestrians and cyclists is now a misdemeanor offense.

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