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Police Slam Car into Dirt Bikes in Bronx resulting in Wrongful Death and Serious Injury

Leav & Steinberg, LLP recently took on a new matter involving a dirt bike incident which occurred in the Bronx at the intersection of Randall Avenue and Coster Street on August 11, 2012. A police officer slammed the front of his vehicle into the rear of a dirt bike while in pursuit of the driver, Adalberto Gonzalez, for insignificant charges. The driver was thrown from his bike and onto the sidewalk from the impact. The police vehicle then made a u-turn, accelerated, and slammed into the rear of a second dirt bike. Though the first driver survived with serious injuries, the second, Eddie Fernandez, was fatally injured from the hit. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. NBC covered the incident.

Surveillance video obtained by NBC 4 New York shows an NYPD patrol car slamming into two men on a dirt bike in the Bronx last August, killing the passenger.

The passenger of the dirt bike, Adam Gonzalez, is expected to appear before a judge on Monday to face several charges stemming from the accident. In the meantime, his attorney has filed a […] claim to bring a civil suit to trial, saying Gonzalez has suffered psychologically from the crash.

Last August, Gonzalez was riding a dirt bike without a license plate or helmet on Randall Avenue in Hunts Point when police officers in a patrol car spotted him and swerved toward him, police said. The video shows the car appearing to hit the bike and knock Gonzalez onto the sidewalk.

Unhurt, Gonzalez fled on foot, and then jumped onto the back of a bike owned by his friend Eddie Fernandez, which was also unregistered. The police squad car turned to pursue that bike and as it chased after the men, slammed into the back of the bike.

“The police officer barrels into them like a scud missile,” said Gonzalez’s attorney Peter Ronai. “They were dead ducks. They had no chance. Their only crime was riding a dirt bike. They paid with their lives.”

Fernandez died at the hospital. Gonzalez suffered a broken leg and was charged with reckless endangerment, obstructing governmental administration, fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle and resisting arrest.

Fernandez’s brother, John Fernandez, said of the video: “It looks like he didn’t even look back. He didn’t know what was behind him.”

Ronai said his client is “psychologically, he’s ruined. Watching his best friend die was not easy.”

Ronai said Gonzalez has no criminal history aside from his August arrest.

The NYPD has not responded to requests for information on the status of the officers involved in the crash.

Before his passing at just twenty-eight years old, Eddie Fernandez was a superintendent at an apartment building. He helped his disabled mother and they attended church together. As a part of our representation, we have fought to obtain copies of all of the relevant video, audio, and police files. Although the incident happened over six months ago and no officer was charged with wrongdoing, our investigation has been significantly delayed due to the ongoing criminal prosecution of Gonzalez.