Today, May 15th, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez was joined by the family and friends of Jean-Paul Guerrero, DJ “Jinx” Paul, as they returned to court in support of justice for Guerrero.
The Judge sentenced Kevin Ozoria to 90 days in jail, 5 years of probation and 100 hours of community service. More than two years ago, Jean-Paul Guerrero, also known as DJ “Jinx” Paul on La Mega 97.9 FM, was killed in a hit and run car crash in Brooklyn, New York. Guerrero was crossing the street near the intersection of Sheffield Avenue and Jamaica Avenue shortly after 4:00 a.m. when a vehicle hit and killed him.
“Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets stand with the family of DJ Jinx Paul and Council Member Rodriguez in seeking justice for his senseless death. Hit and runs — leaving your victim to die on the street — must not be tolerated,” said Marco Conner, Interim Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives “We are still hurting over the death of our son. I am happy we were able to get some type of justice, but I do not think it was enough.” — Humberto Guerrero, Father of DJ Jinx Paul.
Today should serve as a reminder that all hit-and-run drivers will be brought to justice. We must all come together as a city when it comes to addressing the epidemic of hit-and-runs. New York City has seen an increase in hit-and-runs of over 25% within the last few years. On average, we have seen a hit-and-run occur at least once a week. We must learn from this case to ensure that we keep vigilant and reject these statistics as unacceptable.
As a city, we need to do better when it comes to ensuring the safety of our pedestrians and cyclists. Implementing safety measures to ensure that our commuters are kept safe is only one component of solving the epidemic. We must begin implementing tougher penalties for drivers that leave the scene of an accident and improve the rate at which we find drivers responsible for the crime. A year after the death of DJ “Jinx” Paul, we passed legislation that created the “DJ Paul hit-and-run Alert System.” This system allows an alert to be sent out to cellular devices whenever a hit-and-run incident occurs. This initiative assists the NYPD in its investigations, but our work is not done.
The majority of the hit-and-run accidents do not lead to the apprehension of the reckless driver. The NYPD’s Collison Investigative Squad (CIS) unit is in charge of conducting investigations involving motor vehicular collisions. CIS carefully investigates cases involving critically injured and deadly crashes that can lead to arrests. In prior years, CIS counted with only 24 investigating Officers for over 50,000 vehicle incidents, less than 400 cases were investigated. Those numbers have not improved even with the increase in motor vehicle crashes. I am reaffirming my commitment to support the increase of funding and resources allocated to the NYPD’s Collision Investigative Squad. We need to double the number of men and women that investigate these tragic accidents and work to reduce the backlog affecting these cases. I will continue working with the Council to find ways to increase funding for the CIS as well as to empower the District Attorneys, providing them with the tools they need to bring these drivers to justice.