Like most of the East Coast, New York City has been hammered by snow this winter. But now city residents have something else to worry about: snowplows.
Long the bane of every driveway shoveler's existence, snowplows have been especially aggressive lately. On February 5, Pedro Plaza was walking home from work in Brooklyn when a city plow sent snow and ice flying at such a speed that it knocked Plaza over and smashed the glass door of a car dealership in a video that quickly went viral. The Department of Sanitation said it was taking disciplinary action against the driver, and Plaza is considering a lawsuit against city.
Just a week later, in Queens, yet another city plow sent waves of snow into a restaurant window, smashing it and sending two diners to the floor (and then to the hospital). The Department of Sanitation is taking disciplinary action against the driver in that case, too.
There have been deaths, too. A Brooklyn woman who was eight months pregnant was hit by a snowplow (a private one, not city-owned) in a supermarket parking lot. Doctors were able to save the baby, but not her. He is currently in critical condition. A 73-year-old man was killed by backhoe that was clearing snow earlier this month as well.
In both cases, the private-owned vehicles were backing up. Also in both cases, charges will probably not be filed against the drivers, though the supermarket plow was given three citations for lacking an inspection sticker, a headlamp and a license plate light. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out last week, New York state and city laws make it very difficult to bring criminal charges against drivers in fatal accidents unless those drivers are intoxicated.
In other parts of the state, it's the residents who have taken up arms against the snowplows. As CBS 2 reported last week, people are so sick of the snow that they "are pushed to the edge, to the point where they have been taking out their frustrations on plow drivers."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.