Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, and Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service & Labor, released the following joint statement after 47-year-old Angel Sagardia and his wife Samantha Sagardia, 50, were run down by a dollar van driver in a Ford Omnibus on Aug. 13. The hit-and-run took place on Flatbush Ave., near Kings Plaza mall in Marine Park.
STATEMENT BY COUNCIL MEMBER WILLIAMS
"First, I'd like to offer prayers of peace and comfort to the family of the victim. Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when their death is tragic and unexpected.
"Once again, we have seen an unnecessary death caused by an illegal commuter van. These drivers continue to create unsafe conditions for residents in areas who are forced to use this unregulated industry because they lack other transportation options.
"This is an example of what can happen when rogue drivers are left unchecked and unregulated. Incidents like this tarnish the perception of the commuter van industry. Commuter vans provide a valuable service to communities throughout the city, who are starved of reliable transit options. We are calling for stepped up enforcement not only for the family of Sagardia, who were so tragically affected by this accident, but also for the families of those affected by incidents that have happened before in Brookyln and in Queens.
"We are committed to passing legislation that will make sure rogue drivers are taken off the street and allow room for the good acting members of this industry to operate in a safe, fair and regulated space. The Commuter Van Act will encourage drivers who are licensed by TLC, and discourage those who are unlicensed.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in their time of mourning and we urge the City Council to pass our legislation that would regulate drivers who are operating illegally and look at ways which will enhance the quality of life for residents living in transportation deserts.
"It is only through these measures and enforcement that we will be able to minimize the number of senseless tragedies like the one that claimed the life of Angel Sargadia."