As holiday arrives, one Brooklyn family will bury their daughter

A memorial was set up after the death of Joanna Dixon, 23, who was celebrating her birthday when the car she was in was struck by an off-duty cop who was under the influence of alcohol in East Flatbush, Brooklyn Sunday morning. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

While the city celebrates Christmas, one Brooklyn family is instead preparing a funeral for a loved one killed on her birthday in a car crash earlier this month — and wondering if justice for her death will be done.

Joanna Dixon, 23, died on Dec. 8 after her vehicle was crushed by another on Foster Avenue in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Since the fatal crash on that early Sunday morning, prosecutors in Brooklyn have “deferred” the case of an off-duty cop charged for his role in the wreck.

Meanwhile, a second man who was driving the Mazda in which Dixon rode to her demise, is still being sought by detectives after he ran from the scene.

Rohan Shaw, 47, a member of the NYPD Counter Terrorism Unit, was booked on a slew of charges including manslaughter. While he awaits prosecution from Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, NYPD officials say he is currently suspended, pending further investigation.

“We are all in it together all in our church, physical world, our work family – all in it together with all the hurting, and pain and sadness,” said Colin Dixon, the young woman’s father and resident of Canarsie, Brooklyn. He said they put off the funeral until many of their family could join them from their native Jamaica.

“We have a big family and some are here already,” he sighed.

Dixon said he is waiting patiently to see if charges against Shaw will move forward — and wants to find the person in the car with Joanna Dixon who fled following the collision.

Police are investigating the crash in which a woman was killed, another injured and the driver ran, leaving them to die in East Flatbush early Sunday morning. The white car was driven by an off-duty cop, police say. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

The crash occurred shortly before 6 a.m. on Dec. 8, as Shaw was driving east on Foster Avenue in his 2019 Nissan Sedan when he struck a Mazda operated by the as yet unidentified driver. Dixon and a friend were inside the Mazda at the time of the crash.

Police said they believe the Mazda blew the stop sign while turning left from East 55th Street onto west-bound Foster Avenue and was hit by Shaw’s sedan. The Mazda spun around and struck a light pole in front of a Verizon maintenance shop on Foster Avenue, at which point, the driver of the Mazda fled the scene.

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez told amNewYork days after the crash that they planned to take their time, and were conducting a careful examination of the evidence.

Colin Dixon said detectives had visited their home on Saturday, but had no immediate update on the charges against Shaw or the identity of the driver of the Mazda.

“I understand nobody has been charged – the police didn’t tell me yet,” he said. “They are supposed to keep us updated. They came to our house, but there was nothing yet. But we have a big church family and they are being very supportive.”

The funeral for Joanna Dixon will be held at the East End Baptist Church at 263 Van Siclen Avenue in East New York Brooklyn. The viewing will begin at 2 p.m. and the funeral will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. She will be interred at Canarsie Cemetery.

A memorial was set up after the death of Joanna Dixon, 23, who was celebrating her birthday when the car she was in was struck by an off-duty cop who was under the influence of alcohol in East Flatbush, Brooklyn Sunday morning. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Todd Maisel