New York ‘Dollar Vans’ Offer $$ For Capture Of Hit & Run Driver

Hardbeatnews, NEW YORK, N.Y., Fri. Mar. 31, 2006: Caribbean-born owners of the popular ‘dollar vans’ are putting their money where there mouth is.

This week, members of the Brooklyn Commuter Van Industry doled out $2,000 in cash as a reward for credible information that can lead to the arrest and capture of the driver who mowed down a Trinidad-born granny and left her bleeding on a Brooklyn street.

The van owners were joined on the steps of New York City Hall by Caribbean-American Councilmembers, Yvette Clarke and Kendall Stewart, who have both stressed their support for legal vans that offer an alternative to city buses.

Van industry president, Sualiman Haqq, says the drivers have coughed up the money to help solve the crime because, “We believe that this is the right thing to do.”

Councilmember Clarke commend the Van Association for their move while Councilmember Stewart reiterated that, “The vast majority of van drivers in Brooklyn are honest, hardworking, dedicated people who only want to make an honest living and take care of their families. They are not criminals nor do they engage in activities that are detrimental to the citizenry. And they certainly are not ‘wild animals.’”

The New York City Council’s Committee on Transportation held a hearing titled “Private Van Services: Vital Transportation or Accident Waiting To Happen,” on Wednesday at City Hall. There was no clear consensus on what should be done to curb illegal or ‘renegade’ vans but the Committee, head by Councilmember John Liu, did agree that vans should bear a standard color. That rule, however, would need a vote by the City Council to make it law.

Brooklyn resident Jennifer Gibbons, an MTA worker, was reportedly returning from her thrice-weekly kidney dialysis treatment when she was struck by a van. Witnesses claim that the driver of the van got out, saw the Trini granny crumpled and bleeding and jumped back into the beige-colored or burgundy van and sped off southbound. Gibbons is reportedly in critical condition with two broken legs, a broken pelvis and ribs, as well as bleeding in her brain. The accident occurred on Flatbush Avenue and 36th Street in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. Police have made no arrest in the case to date. –