Car enthusiast Art Peterson dies after hit & run crash

Suspect released on bail in time for high school graduation

Car enthusiast Art Peterson dies after hit & run crash

By Regina Clarkin

An 18-year-old Ossining resident, Brian Sarmiento, was arraigned in Peekskill City Court on Friday before Judge Lissette Fernandez and charged with leaving the scene of an accident without reporting in connection with a crash on Howard Street on June 12. Verplanck resident Arthur Peterson died three days later at Westchester Medical Center from injuries he sustained in the crash.

Sarmiento was released on $5,000 bail and graduated from Ossining High School on Saturday. He is due back in Peekskill City Court at 11 a.m. on July 20, according to Peekskill City Court records.  Sarmiento is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident, resulting in serious physical injury or death,  a class D felony. (For reference, a class E felony is the least serious, and a class A is the most.)

Peterson, 79, was returning home from a garage on Howard Street where he rented space to store and work on his cars. He had recently sold his prized Chevy Nova and was working on his 1975 Chevy Vega. According to his family, he rarely parked his black Ford Explorer on the Pugsley Park side of Howard Street. But on Monday, June 12, his ‘daily driver’ (what he called the Ford Explorer) was across the street when he left the garage around 9:30 pm. It was raining that evening, and Peterson was known to walk slowly, with the assistance of a cane. 

The door where Art Peterson would have likely been exiting from on the night of June 12.

Peekskill police have not responded to questions about what type of car Sarmiento was driving and at what rate of speed he was traveling. The speed limit on Peekskill’s residential streets is 25 mph. 

“What happened to Art Peterson is a tragedy. The culture of reckless driving has gotten way out of control in Peekskill. This wasn’t an isolated incident. Several other pedestrians have suffered serious, life-changing injuries just this year, and the vast majority of these incidents are preventable,” said Conor Greene of Peekskill Walks. Peekskill Walks is a resident-led group working to make the city’s streets safer, more interesting, and pleasant for all. 

“City Hall needs to look at the steps other cities have taken to achieve Vision Zero, in which no pedestrians or drivers are seriously injured in traffic crashes. This is an achievable, data-driven goal. Our condolences are with Art’s family and everyone who knew him. We have to stop pretending it’s inevitable that a certain number of people will be violently struck by drivers each year. Our streets are not safe enough, and it’s time to stop talking about it and enact meaningful change,” continued Greene. 

Sarmiento is represented by attorney Craig Herskowitz, and the District Attorney handling the case is Steve Ronco, bureau chief of the Northern Westchester District Attorney branch in Yorktown.