In February, a man driving a car he had found idling on the street fatally struck Middle Village teen Robert Ogle and his friend, Alex Paul. At City Hall, Crowley, who was joined by Robert Ogle's parents, Mei and Brandon, said the new legislation would prevent similar tragic accidents in the future.
"[Several] weeks ago, a seemingly avoidable tragedy struck my district," Crowley said in a statement. "Sadly, the death of the two young men, Robert Ogle and Alex Paul, may have been avoided if a man had not left his car running while shopping in a store."
The proposed penalty of $250, up from the current fine of $5, should deter drivers from leaving their engines idling on the street unattended.
In the early morning hours of February 1, Robert Ogle, a 16-year-old student at Brooklyn Technical School, where he played football, was returning to his parents' home in Middle Village with his friend Alex Paul, 20, when an out-of-control driver ran into the young men.
A police investigation later found that the driver, Kenneth Guyear, was traveling on foot when he passed a Kia Spectra idling on the sidewalk in front of a deli on Woodhaven Boulevard. Guyear, who later admitted he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time, stole the car and took off on a joyride.
It didn't last long. Just minutes later, Guyear struck Ogle and Paul. Then, after returning the stolen car to Woodhaven Boulevard, he was arrested by police. Guyear was arraigned soon afterwards and held without bail.
"Our only hope is that the perpetrator can be held up as an example of the worst kind of people that are walking on the street," Brendan Ogle told this paper in an interview just days after his son was killed. "I hope they put people like that away."
Though the idling legislation can't turn back time, Crowley said it will do much to prevent the Middle Village hit-and-run and others like it. Crowley announced in the coming weeks that she would start a program to promote awareness of the legislation with Councilman John Liu, the Transportation Committee chairman.
"Leaving your car running and unattended seems like a minor, careless mistake," Crowley said, "but all New Yorkers must understand that it is irresponsible, dangerous and potentially deadly."