“Hit-and-run driver claims city didn’t take care of his Bentley after crash”

“A Coney Island businessman is suing the city for damaging the Bentley he was driving when he killed a Brooklyn dad in a hit-and-run accident. Harry Shasho, who pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, says the NYPD failed to safeguard the battered black 2005 Bentley GT luxury sedan that was impounded as evidence of the fatal crash. He’s asking for at least $190,000.” However, Shasho “denied filing a lawsuit” when contacted by a Daily News reporter. (John Marzulli, New York Daily News, Aug. 24).

I’m going to take a wild guess here and speculate that Shasho’s auto insurer will turn out to have been a force in the decision to sue. Under most property insurance policies, after paying a loss the insurer reserves the right to go after third parties it thinks it can be blamed, and the policyholder must up to a reasonable point cooperate in such lawsuits (which may be filed in the policyholder’s name). The insurer needn’t and probably won’t take into its calculations the effect of such a suit on its policyholder’s reputation, which in this case for Shasho include being called “shameless” and worse in the comments section at Gothamist. Such insurer-prompted suits on behalf of wrongdoers are fairly common, and should be kept analytically distinct from the (also fairly common) situations where the wrongdoer himself decides to sue and is the one to pocket any proceeds.


  • To be fair, having your vehicle damaged is not supposed to be part of the punishment for hit-and-run, and at the point at which the police were negligent (assuming that they were), the owner of the vehicle had not been convicted. Even if Shasho filed the suit himself, I don’t see it as improper.

  • Bill,

    According to the article, Shasho said that the when he turned himself in, the vehicle was in “pristine condition.” The police disagree, saying the windshield was cracked, the bumper was damaged and the hood was dented. Those would seem to be typical of damages to a car that was involved in a hit and run accident where the victim died.

    Several articles say that the original police report when the car was impounded has the damages to it listed.

  • […] posts about the defendant (or his insurer) suing the city for not properly taking car of his car in the impound in a fatal hit and run […]

  • The impound/tow company is a private business, first problem… They are responsible for the safekeeping of impounded vehicles no matter what the reason.

    Just because the driver was involved in a fatal accident doesn’t mean his property should be destroyed

    My van was towed 2 weeks ago… for fraudulent tickets on my CAR… my car, is a 2 door sports coupe… the tickets they listed on the car claimed it as a 4 door sedan, no plates, no registration sticker, no VIN… in a place I’ve never been (I was also out of state and can prove it)
    all dismissed, but there’s $3,000.00 damage to my van done by the tow company (I showed police the paint scrapings on the tow yards pole, and the paint flakes laying on the ground below, proving the damage was done IN the yard)
    Did I deserve this? to have my vehicle damaged over parking tickets? nevermind that I did not get the alleged tickets.
    I’ve already wasted 6 days fighting the city, getting my vehicle released, getting estimates, and will now have to fight to get payment for the damage.
    The yard that trashed that guys’ bentley, and the yard that trashed my van – should have to pay DOUBLE in punitive damages!

  • Gitarcarver,

    If the facts are as you indicate, then (assuming he’s not suing over damage additional to what you mention), the suit is without foundation, but not because he is charged with hit and run. The post says nothing about the damage not being due to the actions of the police – its theme is that the property of an alleged hit and run driver deserves no protection.