Driver of car that sped through busy Crown Heights intersection causing fatal crash charged

BROOKLYN, NY – Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Crown Heights, Brooklyn man has been indicted for reckless manslaughter and related charges in connection with a vehicular crash that killed a 53-year-old woman who was legally crossing a Flatlands street in December 2020.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly made a series of dangerous decisions that led to him speeding the wrong way on a one-way street into a busy intersection, causing a pedestrian to lose her life. We have zero tolerance for reckless and unlawful driving in Brooklyn, and, with the help of our Street Safety Bureau, have stepped up indictments against drivers who kill or injure others. Everyone using our streets and roads must do so in a legal and responsible manner.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Michael Rajpaul, 23, of Crown Heights Brooklyn. He was arraigned today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew Sciarrino on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, criminally negligent homicide and related charges. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count. He remains out on $75,000 bail and was ordered to return to court on July 20, 2021.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on December 9, 2020, the defendant was allegedly driving a 2008 Hyundai on Kings Highway when he hit a black BMW in traffic, causing minor damage. The defendant allegedly didn’t stop and drove off the highway with the BMW following behind him. At about 10:14 a.m., the defendant turned off Foster Avenue onto East 55th Street going the wrong way on a one-way street.

It is alleged that the defendant, driving at a high rate of speed, entered the intersection of Glenwood Road without stopping or slowing down. There was steady cross traffic on Glenwood Road and a 2009 Honda, proceeding through a green light, struck the defendant’s car. The Hyundai spun into the south crosswalk of East 55th and struck Rosana Lopez who was crossing inside the crosswalk with the walk sign. She was taken to Kings County Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Mark Rapisarda of the District Attorney’s Red Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Karla Watson, Bureau Chief. Senior Assistant District Attorney Jacob Uriel, of the District Attorney’s Street Safety Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Katherine Sessa, of the Red Zone, assisted in the investigation.

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