A Fort Greene man whose wife was run down by a Treasury Department agent while she rode her Vespa last July intends to sue the department to hold it responsible for his wife’s death.
Michael Dalton filed a notice of claim against the federal government, giving the feds six months to settle the case before the wrongful-death suit goes forward.
“I want some measure of justice for myself and my kids,” the husband, Michael Dalton, told the Daily News, which first reported the story
Dalton quit his job at Barclays to take care of the couple’s daughter and two sons after the accident at DeKalb and Clinton avenues last July 8, when his wife, Aileen McKay-Dalton was struck by a Ford SUV while riding her powder-blue scooter. The SUV was being driven by a Treasury Department agent named Joel Murphy. Two witnesses said that he ran a red light, and another witness said Murphy was speeding.
The NYPD originally called the crash an accident, but District Attorney Charles Hynes reopened the case after neighbors, friends and family of the dead woman complained.
But Hynes’s investigation also determined that Murphy was not criminally negligent. In the end, all he received for the death was a single NYPD traffic summons.
“We did a very thorough investigation,” DA spokesman Jerry Schmetterer told The Brooklyn Paper.
Murphy — who hasn’t returned calls to his Louisiana home — didn’t show up at a separate state safety hearing in April about the matter, at which three witnesses testified.
Another hearing is set for July.
If a wrongful death suit is eventually filed, the Treasury Department — not Murphy — will be on trial, as Murphy was allegedly travelling in an official capacity when he hit Dalton. The United States Attorney for the Eastern District will defend the agency.
“From the time of the accident the U.S. government took all appropriate action in evaluating the tragedy,” said Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor.
But Dalton wondered if Murphy felt like he had impunity because he worked for the government.
“Is it because as a federal agent he felt he didn’t have to obey the law?” he asked.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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