NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man terrorized by teen cyclists in Manhattan’s Flatiron District a month ago is frustrated there’s been little progress in his case, and now an assemblywoman is stepping in with an idea she’s sharing first with CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
The terrifying experience when Max Torgovnick and his mother were inside their SUV under attack by young cyclists on Fifth Avenue on Dec. 29 is a moment he will never forget.READ MORE: Doctors Seeing More Neck, Back Pain Related To Working From Home
“I literally was fearing for my life, fearing for my safety, fearing for my mom’s life and her safety,” Torgovnick said.
For the past month, Torgovnick has been speaking out, calling on the city for systemic change.
CBS2 has also gone to the city several times for solutions.
Torgovnick reached out to Manhattan Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, who in response is unveiling legislation to help others in emergencies.
It would require cell phone companies to immediately respond to police requests for location information of someone in danger.
“It’s passed in 27 other states, and it’s something that we need in New York to help law enforcement respond quickly so there’s no waiting time, so they can respond immediately, like in Max’s situation,” Seawright said.
It’s based on legislation named after Kelsey Smith, an 18-year-old from Kansas who was abducted and killed in 2007.
Her parents say after she went missing, it took their cell phone company several days to give investigators location data needed. Once they got it, her body was found within 45 minutes.
Tragedy inspired the Kelsey Smith Act.READ MORE: Harrison School District Taking Action To Bring All Students Back Into Classrooms Full Time In Coming Weeks
“This is a tool for law enforcement to use when somebody is in danger of serious bodily injury or death. That’s the only time it’s used,” father Greg Smith said.
“Just the location. No text messages, no pictures … Just where is the wireless device,” mother Missey Smith said. “The goal is to bring someone home.”
“Kelsey’s story is not the first time that a tragedy could have been prevented if cell phone companies had turned over their records to help find missing persons,” Seawright said. “Passing the Kelsey Smith Act will save lives.”
“We’ve had medical cases where somebody had a stroke or something and they’re unable to speak and they can call 911 but they can’t say anything, and the police are able to use the Kelsey Smith Act to locate that phone and get medical assistance to those people when they need it, so it’s not just a kidnapping type situation,” her parents said. “When we hear the stories of where it did work, I know she’s up in heaven saying go mom, go dad, get it done.”
They’re hoping it’s adopted in New York, as does Torgovnick who says a month after what happened to him, he’s finally seeing some action he’s been pushing for.
“Personally, I think I owe you some of the credit. The local news has not stopped following through on this, and I think that’s important. Especially you and Hazel Sanchez. I mean, you’ve been getting the city’s attention for me in a way that I may not have been able to get on my own,” he said.
He says since CBS2’s latest story last week, he heard from the district attorney’s office.
The NYPD tells us this is still under investigation. So far, one 17-year-old has been arrested.
Separately, Torgovnick is exploring an idea with City Councilmember Ben Kallos to find a way to use cell phone cameras in an emergency.MORE NEWS: Blackface Costume Controversy Hits N.J. Town Of Lakewood
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