Hit and Run EMT

Off-duty paramedic charged with hit and run on bicyclist; victim suffered collapsed lung, shattered hip and broken ribs

BY DYLAN SKRILOFF

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His duty is to respond to emergencies, but according to Clarkstown Police, paramedic Jonathan Fried, 49, of Chestnut Ridge, caused an emergency and then fled the scene illegally.

Fried is facing a Class A misdemeanor charge for leaving the scene of an accident following an incident in New City, 10:10 a.m. on Sunday. A group of 30 or so bicyclists were traversing downtown New City at the intersection of South Little Tor Road and Glenwood Drive, when witnesses say a red car veered into one of the bicyclists and then attempted to flee the scene. Fried was the driver of that car. Several of the bicyclists boxed Fried on North Main Street and stopped him.

The misdemeanor charges may be increased to a felony as the victim, Michael Elias, 50, of Bogota, NJ, has suffered injuries including a collapsed lung, a hip fractured in multiple locations and three broken ribs. NY Penal Law states that leaving the scene of an accident in the case of a minor injury is a misdemeanor and in the case of a major injury is a felony. Police initially described the injuries as “minor” in a press report, a description the victim and his friends says is not accurate.

Fried told police and witnesses he only heard a slight thump and didn’t know what was happening, but witness George Perez of Northvale, NJ said the sound of the accident was more like a small bomb. Perez was flanking Elias on his right when “All of a sudden I heard a bang, a big, big noise. As soon as I look up, I saw a red car speeding away. I slowed down and Mike was on the floor.”

The strength of the collision can be seen on Fried’s car, as his passenger side rear view mirror was ripped off.

As Fried tried to drive away, bicyclists were screaming “get him, get him,” Perez said.

Paramedic Jonathan Stern
Facebook profile photo for paramedic Jonathan Fried

As Elias lay in agony, he said everything was a blur. “They asked me what month it was and I couldn’t remember what month it was,” Elias told the Rockland County Times. “I don’t remember getting hit. I remember being on the ground, not being able to breathe very well and an excruciating pain in my hip.”

Perez said he and his fellow cyclists are very upset the driver did not stop. “If you hit somebody, the least thing you can do is stop. This is not something like, ‘Oh, did I hit somebody.’ This was so loud, it was like a bomb.”

Perez added, “His mirror fell off, how could he not see? There was really no reason — I think this guy was either on the cell or he did it on purpose.”

Elias said, “It’s a scum move…George said, ‘he left you like a squirrel on the side of the road to die.'”

Elias continued, “If a guy runs me down, it’s one thing if it’s an accident, but for a guy to take off and not take responsibility for his action, that’s horrific. Especially, you’re talking about a 49-year-old man, and on top of that he has an obligation to stop and help as a paramedic.”

On top of the physical pain of his injuries, Elias said he has been dealt an emotional blow, as his doctors informed him he will not be able to attend his daughter’s wedding in the Dominican Republic next month because he will not be cleared to fly by then. Elias said he hopes the Clarkstown Police pursue the case to the fullest extent of the law.

Elias expects to be in the hospital through at least Friday and faces a 10-day period of heavy rehabilitation after that.

Perez and Elias said their group bicycles around the region every Sunday.

Following the accident Elias was transported by New City Ambulance to Nyack Hospital. He was then taken to Westchester Medical Center where he remains at this time.

Comments

  1. “Perez was flanking Elias on his right…”

    While it was wrong (in a big way) for Fried to drive away from the accident, especially as a trained first-responder, what Elias and Perez were doing is actually against NYS law as well. Bicyclists may ride two abreast on roadways, but they must ride single file when being overtaken by other vehicles (NY Code – Section 1234 (b)).

    1. The only witnesses we have are the bikers. They said the road conditions were not cramped and the car swerved into the biker suddenly as if distracted — the bikers were not issued citations for their conduct, so it is not clear to me they were breaking the code as you state.

      1. I was only stating what was reported according to Perez (who was a witness) and what the state code is, which I would assume most bicyclists are not aware of.