Parents of 3-year-old run over by SUV plea for change

NEW YORK (PIX11) - “I will never see her blow out another candle.”

Allison Liao was a feisty 3-year-old that none of us will ever get a chance to meet. Last month, holding her grandmother’s hand on Cherry Avenue in Queens, the light turned green and they proceeded to cross. But a driver in a Nissan Pathfinder took a left turn into them. Why he did so is unknown to Allison’s family, but they know the result.

Amy Tan and Hsi-Pei Liao were summoned to the hospital. First thinking it was “maybe a broken arm,” it was after they arrived that they realized something far worse was upon them. Doctors and nurses scrambled for half an hour pumping the 3-year-old’s heart. It would become evident that she could not be saved. A doctor asked her parents a question they did not expect to have to answer, ever. “Do you want to see her one last time before we stop?” They said yes and went in.

Allie’s parents suffer a pain only someone who has lost a child could understand. And in their case, there are 16 other families this year who know their pain all too well. In addition, five children are hit by cars in NYC each day.

Amy and His-Pei have spent the weeks following their nightmare fighting. Taking to rallies that seem to be growing across the city – a recognition of the growing dangers pedestrians face. And for Allie’s parents the bad news came twice. First having to watch their daughter die, then to learn the driver was only issued two summonses and drove off from the scene.

In NYC, unless drunk, drivers who kill pedestrians rarely face criminal charges. Steve Vaccaro is a lawyer and advocate for pedestrian and cyclist safety, he now represents Allie’s family, saying ticket only approach “tells drivers they don’t have to worry about hitting people.”

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