Family of Japanese student struck and killed by NYPD vehicle settles lawsuit

Family of Japanese student struck and killed by NYPD vehicle settles lawsuit
The family of Japanese student Ryo Oyamada settles its wrongful death lawsuit against the City angered that the NYPD officer who struck and killed their loved one in 2013 was never held accountable.
By Bill Parry

The family of Ryo Oyamada is expressing disappointment over a settlement reached with the city in their wrongful death lawsuit.

The 24-year-old Japanese student was crossing 40th Avenue near the corner of 11th Street in the Queensbridge Houses the night of Feb. 21, 2013, when he was struck and killed by a speeding NYPD patrol car driven by Officer Darren Ilardi, who was responding to a 911 knife assault in Long Island City.

The NYPD claimed Ilardi’s “emergency lights were engaged,” but surveillance video from NYCHA security cameras showed otherwise. Oyamada’s family, who live in Kobe, Japan, never received an apology from the city, and after four years decided to settle the case for $540,000 after filing an $8 million lawsuit against the city in Brooklyn federal court.

“This is not justice, and Officer Darren Ilardi should be held accountable for killing Ryo, as he sped recklessly next to public housing where children, families and pedestrians are always walking,” the family said in a statement released Tuesday.

“As the city continues a Vision Zero plan to reduce preventable deaths, it is unfortunately exempting NYPD officers from following the rules and being held accountable for pedestrian deaths. New Yorkers should understand that nothing has changed in the NYPD to prevent this from happening again. Officer Darren Ilardi, who was driving the vehicle when it hit Ryo, has not faced any meaningful consequences and the NYPD and the city of New York have let him escape accountability for his actions.”

Steve Vaccaro, the attorney for the Oyamada family, also expressed dissatisfaction with the settlement.

“I was deeply disappointed that the city denied all of the non-economic relief requested by the Oyamada family — measures aimed at accountability for the officers involved, preventing a reoccurrence, or simply allowing the public to know the full truth of what happened the night Ryo Oyamada was killed,” he said.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

More from Around New York