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Driver who allegedly struck, killed pedestrian charged with manslaughter

June 3, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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A Crown Heights man has been charged with reckless manslaughter and related charges in connection with a crash that killed a 53-year-old woman who was legally crossing a Flatlands street in December 2020.

Michael Rajpaul, 23, of Crown Heights was arraigned Wednesday 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. 

Rajpaul 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.

According to the investigation by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, on Dec. 9, 2020, the defendant was allegedly driving a 2008 Hyundai on Kings Highway when he hit a black BMW in traffic, causing minor damage. 

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Rajpul allegedly didn’t stop and drove off the highway with the BMW following behind him. At about 10:15 a.m., the defendant turned off Foster Avenue onto East 55th Street, going the wrong way on a one-way street.

The defendant, driving at a high rate of speed, entered the intersection of Glenwood Road without stopping or slowing down, according to the District Attorney’s Office. 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, according to the charges. She was taken to Kings County Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly made a series of dangerous decisions that led to him speeding the wrong way on the 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.”

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.

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