In a tragic turn of events March 28th, two women were walking along the sidewalks of Manhattan Friday after just having left work, when a white delivery van plowed into them. Tassia Katsiambanis was pinned underneath the van and survived. Her co-worker, Ysemny Ramos, a mother of two, died at the scene.
Ramos was pregnant with her third child. Friday was also the woman's third wedding anniversary.
According to news reports the driver of the two-ton delivery van, Keston Brown, 27, was cruising alongside the two women and taunting them, according to eyewitnesses. Various reports have described the driver's behavior as flirting; others suggested that the driver was leering at the two women through an open window in the van.
When the two women ignored his advances, witnesses say the driver allegedly lost his temper and at the same time lost control of the van. It jumped the curb and traversed the sidewalk, plowing into the two pedestrians.
Sources say the driver has had prior arrests, and was also driving while under the influence at the time. According to a report in the New York Daily News, Brown's blood alcohol level was 0.17. The blood alcohol content, at which point an individual is considered to be driving while impaired, is 0.08.
Brown's legal counsel, while appearing not to dispute the alcohol blood rating, defended his client to Judge Laura Drager by suggesting that the van his client was driving had had a history of mechanical problems, and that the vehicle 'locked' and could not be stopped, or shifted into neutral.
The driver was arraigned Saturday and charged with 5 felony counts—including manslaughter, assault and driving while intoxicated. Brown will appear before a grand jury Thursday.
At the time of the crash, Katsiambanis, the woman who survived, was reported to have been screaming at passersby to help her pregnant friend after the van plowed into the two of them on East 37th Street. Katsiambanis is a mother herself, and while grievously injured will have the chance to return home to her five-year-old daughter.
However, the husband and children of Ysemny Ramos will not benefit from her return home given that her life and that of her unborn child ended tragically on the sidewalk in midtown Manhattan Friday.
READ MORE CAR ACCIDENT LEGAL NEWS
Instead, a car accident in midtown Manhattan brought a tragic and sudden end to a life, and what was a happy and vibrant family. Beyond the alleged actions of the driver, car crash safety is often a factor in car crashes. The mechanical condition of the delivery van notwithstanding, the various factors leading up to the accident cannot take away from the tragedy of the end result. "If they do a million years, she ain't coming back," said Renaldo Ramos in comments to the New York Daily News. It is unclear if Mr. Ramos has consulted a lawyer.