In the early hours of July 2, 2016, 35-year-old Matthew von Ohlen was struck and killed by the driver of a black, late-model Chevrolet Camaro as he was riding his bike home from work in Williamsburg's Grand Street bike lane. Police who reviewed surveillance video of the crash told WPIX TV that the driver appeared to slow down and steer into bike lane, intentionally striking von Ohlen before running over him and dragging him 30 feet, before speeding off. Von Ohlen died in the hospital not long after, the victim of severe trauma.
Four days later, the NYPD's 90th Precinct took to Twitter to announce that police had located the car involved in the crash. But that was the last public announcement made regarding the investigation into von Ohlen's death. More than four months have passed since.
The failure of the police to catch Matthew von Ohlen's killer fits a pattern. As Gothamist reports today, the NYPD has made arrests in just 34% of the fatal hit-and-run crashes that occurred in New York City between July 2015 and June 2016. When hit-and-run crashes in which the victim suffered an injury are included, the arrest rate drops to a meager 8%.
To NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill:
Please order the NYPD's Collision Investigation Squad and 90th Precinct to release updated information regarding the July 2, 2016 crash that killed Matthew von Ohlen.
Police told WPIX TV and other media that the driver who struck von Ohlen appeared to do so intentionally, slowing down before steering into the bike lane in which von Ohlen was riding, and then striking von Ohlen and dragging him for 30 feet before speeding off.
On July 6, the 90th Precinct announced via its Twitter account that the black Chevrolet Camaro involved in the crash had been located, but that is the last bit of information the public has received about the case. That's unacceptable.
It's time for the NYPD to bring the public up to speed on the investigation. To whom is the car registered? Who was driving the car? Why has no arrest been made?
Matthew von Ohlen's family, friends and colleagues – and the public at large – deserve to know.