Brooklyn Tow Truck Driver Charged with Fatal Blow Assault During Car Seizure

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A Brooklyn tow truck driver has been charged with assault for throwing a punch that killed a 61-year-old man arguing to prevent his car from being impounded, police said Monday.

Kevon Johnson, 30, is charged with reckless assault and causing bodily injury for allegedly punching to the ground Carlyle Thomas, whose family said the fatal confrontation was over a $10 parking fee at a gas station where the victim regularly helped out.

Johnson has no criminal record, police say. The victim had been arrested seven times in the past, three of them for felonies, according to police.

Thomas’ death has been classified as a homicide, but so-called one-hit homicides are not typically prosecuted with a manslaughter charge. Police said the Brooklyn district attorney’s office will decide whether more charges should be added.

Illegally parked driver dies after being struck to the ground by a Brooklyn tow truck driver
The victim got into a fight over his illegally parked vehicle with a tow truck driver outside the Shell station on Clarkson Ave. near Rockaway Parkway in East Flatbush around 8:45 p.m. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)

Johnson was awaiting arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Monday. He lives in Canarsie, according to police.

Thomas lived a block from the Shell station on Clarkson Ave. near Rockaway Parkway, where he hung out, sometimes helped out by working for free and often left his car, his family said.

“We thought he and the guys at the gas station were cool because he was there helping them and unpacking with them,” the victim’s nephew, Dominic Graham, 37, said Sunday. “We didn’t think they would ever call a tow truck and do that.”

About 8:45 p.m. Saturday, Thomas saw his Honda Odyssey hitched to a tow truck and confronted Johnson, police and his family said.

As the argument escalated, Johnson punched Thomas in the face, causing the victim to fall and hit his head on the pavement, police said.

Brooklyn man dies after being hit by tow truck driver who confiscated his car
Carlyle Thomas (obtained by Daily News)

Doctors took Thomas to Brookdale University Hospital, where he died at 9:17 p.m.

The gas station charges local residents $10 to park overnight if they can’t find street parking, the victim’s family said.

“Yesterday he came and was enjoying the nice weather,” said Thomas’ stepdaughter, Andrele Peters. “I guess he didn’t pay the $10. She lived here a long time and has a relationship with them. He did not pay immediately, but they do have his contact and my mother’s contact.”

Peters said when Thomas was called, he ran to the station and saw that his car had already been connected to the truck.

“He’s verbally arguing with the tow truck guy and what I heard next is the guy hit him so hard that he fell to the ground and his heart stopped,” he said.

Thomas, a former jockey in his native Jamaica, worked training and feeding horses at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, his family said.

Brooklyn man dies after being hit by tow truck driver who confiscated his car
Carlyle Thomas (obtained by Daily News)

Peters noted that Thomas was such a regular presence at the gas station that most of his social media photos were taken there.

“He’s a really good guy. “What hurts to know is that he spent so much time supporting this gas station,” he said. “He always tries to help them. Calling the tow truck and not calling the person first makes no sense.”

The Shell station parking lot was the scene of a horrible stabbing with screwdriver on July 24, 2022.

A drunk, shirtless man who had passed out in the parking lot woke up and confronted a man pushing a Citi bike, according to a witness. When the 47-year-old shirtless man insisted that the cyclist had taken something from him and demanded it, the other man pulled out a screwdriver and stabbed him. The victim suffered two collapsed lungs.

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