MTA officer indicted in pedestrian knock-down in Bay Ridge

A MTA Bridges and Tunnels officer was charged on Thursday, June 15 with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting as a felony and third-degree intimidating a witness after he allegedly struck a pedestrian in Bay Ridge, drove him across the Verrazano Bridge, and left him on the side of the road in Staten Island.

According to the indictment, on Friday, May 26, 2016, at around 7 p.m., 42-year-old Brooklyn resident Lawrence Ffrench was driving a marked MTA vehicle when he struck a 41-year-old man who was crossing the street near the corner of 92nd Street and Gatling Place as he was making his way to the S53 bus stop. According to the indictment, as a result of the impact, the victim was thrown through the air and landed on the ground.

Reports claim the officer exited the car, approached the victim, placed him in the rear of his vehicle, and drove him over the bridge.

Once near Tompkins and Wadsworth Avenues, Ffrench allegedly took the man out of the vehicle and left him on the side of the road.

Ffrench then allegedly asked the wounded victim not to tell anyone who hit him and promised he’d call an ambulance as he fled the scene.

At around 7:38 p.m., the victim dialed 911 and told the operator that he had been hit by an MTA police car and left in Staten Island. Emergency medical technicians rushed to the scene and placed him in an ambulance, whereupon, it is also alleged, Ffrench returned to the scene in his personal vehicle and told the victim again not to tell anyone that it was the defendant who struck him.

The victim was taken to Staten Island University Hospital where he remained for four days after suffering numbness and pain to his right arm and swelling and pain to his right knee. He had surgery on his knee and continues to undergo physical therapy.

“That an on-duty officer would strike a pedestrian and leave the scene is shocking; that he would move the victim and ask him not to report the officer is even more egregious,” said Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in a statement. “The defendant’s post at the time of the incident was traffic enforcement – he should have been keeping pedestrians safe, not endangering lives.”

Ffrench was released without bail and ordered to return to court on Wednesday, August 23. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.

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