Family outraged after driver with suspended license who killed daughter not charged

Josh Einiger Image
Friday, June 3, 2016
Exclusive: Family outraged after driver who killed daughter not charged
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Josh Einiger has the story.

FORT GREENE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A man who drove with a suspended license was found to be speeding when he jumped a curb and killed a young woman on the sidewalk.

Her family is looking for answers after the driver was not charged by the district attorney.

Victoria Nicodemus was, quite simply, in the prime of her life.

"Somebody reached into my chest and tore my heart out," said Elsa Nicodemus, Victoria's mother.

But in a flash, she was gone forever.

"I have a big black ugly pool that I can't cross over. And the pain, the pain is indescribable and it never leaves you.

Last December the 30-year-old art curator was Christmas shopping with her boyfriend in Fort Greene, when behind her a 5,000 pound SUV was racing up the sidewalk and slammed into her.

She went up on the hood then down onto the pavement.

And then the car drove over her.

"There was no goodbye. There was just getting to the hospital through enormous traffic, two hours after she expired. And seeing this battered little body, kissing her a few times," Elsa said.

Police quickly determined Marlon Sewell had no business behind the wheel. His license was suspended. But the very next night, he walked out of court without posting a dime of bail.

"They have the power to make these streets and sidewalks safer," said Hank Miller, the victim's brother.

Hank says Brooklyn prosecutors have since indicated Sewell may never be charged with homicide. He says he's been told that may be too difficult to prove.

And in this era of "Vision Zero" and pedestrian safety improvements, he says that's just not good enough.

"We would feel a lot better about this situation if we felt the district attorney was taking this seriously, but right now we're not feeling that way at all," Hank said.

"They really have to start making examples of these people that drive on sidewalks. The criminal has his license back, no bail, no charges, the DA is tippy toeing around," Elsa said.

The Brooklyn DA's Office won't talk specifics because the case is still open. They say they are working hard to make this a criminal case.

Sewell claims he was swerving to avoid a bus, and simply driving with a suspended license is not a felony in New York. Victoria's family is working with lawmakers in Albany to try to change that.