Brooklyn woman seeks justice after crash involving ex-NYPD officer; killed friend, disabled her

Darla Miles Image
Friday, July 28, 2023
Exclusive: Woman claims ex-cop was driving drunk before deadly crash
A lawsuit filed by Nia Reynolds outlines an internal affairs investigation that claims ex-NYPD Officer Rohan Shaw was driving drunk when he slammed into a car in Brooklyn more than three years ago. Darla Miles has the exclusive interview.

CANARSIE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A woman seriously injured in a deadly crash in Brooklyn involving an off-duty NYPD officer is speaking out after she claims the former officer was driving drunk and speeding when he slammed into her car.

The crash, which happened three and a half years ago, injured Nia Reynolds and killed her best friend Joanna Dixson.

"I want to make things right for her, because it wasn't fair, what happened," accident victim Nia Reynolds said. "I didn't understand, why me and not her."

It isn't fair that at the age of 26, Reynolds can barely stand up by herself or move her legs.

She's spent the last three grueling years recovering from a car accident, an accident caused by now-retired NYPD Officer Rohan Shaw.

A new filing in her lawsuit cites the internal affairs investigation and outlines its findings.

According to the timeline outlined in the lawsuit, the accident happened just before 5 a.m. Officer Shaw identified himself as NYPD, and one of the responding officers "falsely" claimed he did not smell alcohol.

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An hour later, Highway Collision arrived. Shaw failed a preliminary breath test with a blood alcohol level of .108 and it was noted that Shaw had a "strong odor of alcohol and was "swaying."

Then two hours later at 7:16 a.m., Shaw refused to take a series of field sobriety tests.

Then eight hours later at 1:10 p.m., the lawsuit states that after a search warrant was obtained, there was no significant trace of alcohol in Shaw's system.

"That's how this case got damaged, decline to prosecute," civil attorney Eric Sanders said.

The lawsuit names the responding officers: one captain, two lieutenants, one sergeant and four officers, and states the IAB investigation found them to be in violation of departmental policy for not turning on their body cams.

"None of them turned on the body worn camera, what's the chances of that happening? Well, they know why, because the body worn camera would then film and videotape audio conversations they had with each other," Sanders said.

The lawsuit also cites crash data that shows Shaw was driving 78 mph, accelerated to 85 mph, and in 2.5 seconds before impact, he slammed on the brakes and struck the car Reynolds riding was in, at 51 mph.

"Now we know what happened, internal affairs helped to prove it," Sanders said.

The NYPD, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office and attorney for Shaw all declined to comment.


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