Fatal Motorcycle Crash May Cost City Millions

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By Ben Myers

A fatal motorcycle crash may cost the Big Apple millions, a $5 million lawsuit alleges. The suit claims that New York City is responsible for the 2014 crash, which killed 19-year-old Kadeem Mitchell. A separate lawsuit was filed by a passenger in the SUV involved in the accident against the motorcyclist and the driver of the car that collided with the bike.

Mitchell was struck by a car after the driver swerved into his lane to avoid potholes on School Road, the initial suit alleges. Mitchell was ejected from his bike and landed in the opposite lane of traffic, where he was hit by an SUV.

Mitchell sustained multiple injuries to the arms, head, neck, legs and back in the motorcycle accident. The 19-year-old died six days later.

The collision occurred a few hundred feet from the intersection of Dennis Torricelli Sr. Street, according to the police report. Mitchell attempted to pass the car on the left, but collided with the driver’s side. The 19-year-old was wearing a helmet, the report said.

The suit, filed in state Supreme Court, St. George, names the car’s driver and the SUV’s driver as the defendants and claims drivers were negligent in the operation of their vehicles. The complaint also alleges that the city failed to maintain the roadway.

The motorcycle’s registered owner, Meir Seeman, is seeking $50,000 in damages to the bike. Seeman is Mitchell’s grandfather, who was devastated by his grandson’s death.

“He was whimsical. He was humorous. He was witty. He was the light of my life,” Seeman told The Advance.

Police told the press after the crash that Mitchell was not licensed to operate a motorcycle. Mitchell’s lawyer says the motorcyclist had a learner’s permit, although police could not verify this information.

A cyclist with a learner’s permit is required to be supervised by a driver with a current and valid motorcycle license. According to state law, the driver must remain within sight of the motorcyclist at all times and within a maximum of a quarter-mile from the rider.

Robert Prignoli, lawyer for the Mitchell estate, says he does not know if Mitchell had a permit or was licensed.

Several potholes were still visible on School Road two weeks after the fatal accident. Some of the holes had been filled, but a few remained exposed.

The second suit stemming from the accident was also filed in state Supreme Court, St. George. Gladys Feliciano, the plaintiff, alleges that the sedan and motorcycle “came into contact” with her vehicle and injured her. She is seeking unspecified damages in her claim.

While the complaint does not list her injuries, Feliciano claims they are “serious.”

The suit names Mitchell, the deceased motorcyclist, as a defendant, but not his estate. Gutierrez, the driver of the SUV Feliciano was riding in, was not named in the suit.

If the suit filed by Mitchell’s estate proves to be successful, it could cost the city of Fort Wadsworth millions of dollars.

It is still unclear how much Feliciano is seeking in her suit against the deceased Mitchell.

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