Eastern Pkwy & Brooklyn Ave in Crown Heights (Google Maps)
Aaron Gilchrist, 33, was driving west on Eastern Parkway just before 7 a.m., when he made an illegal right turn onto Brooklyn Avenue, according to an NYPD spokesperson. Police say he then struck and killed a 37-year-old pedestrian—whose name has not yet been released—while driving the wrong way down the street.
Surveillance footage obtained by NBC shows the garbage truck continuing down the street against the flow of traffic, then reversing at the intersection, before returning to the scene facing the correct direction before police arrived.
Gilchrist was charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and failing to exercise due care. Under New York‘s Right-of-Way law, Gilchrist can be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to yield, which would carry a penalty of up to $500 in fines and a maximum 30 days in jail.
A spokesperson for the Department of Sanitation, Vito Turso, said that Gilchrist has been placed been on modified duty. “The Department of Sanitation is fully cooperating with NYPD’s investigation,” Turso said in a statement. “In addition, the Department of Sanitation’s Safety Division is conducting its own internal investigation.”
The trash-hauler’s arrest follows the city’s decision to suspend the license of Sanitation Salvage, a Bronx-based commercial carting company who employed a driver who fatally struck two people in separate incidents in 2017 and 2018. City sanitation workers, meanwhile, last killed someone since 2014, according to the Brooklyn Paper, when a worker was crushed on the job after his colleague forgot to put a street sweeper in park.
In August, a city sanitation driver struck and critically injured a cyclist in Bushwick, then continued driving. The NYPD deemed the hit-and-run an “accident,” and no charges were filed.