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There was a rumor at the time that Lifsh was intoxicated.
A breath alcohol test administered by police within 70 minutes of the accident indicated this was not the case.
Two weeks after the riot, a non-Jewish man was killed by a group of black men; some believed that the victim had been mistaken for a Jew.
The riots were a major issue in the 1993 mayoral race, contributing to the defeat of Mayor David Dinkins, an African American. Ultimately, black and Jewish leaders developed an outreach program between their communities to help calm and possibly improve racial relations in Crown Heights over the next decade.
Not wishing to lose sight of Schneerson's car, Lifsh's vehicle either crossed Utica Avenue on a yellow light or ran a red light.
There was no indication of the exact speed of Lifsh's vehicle.
Orthodox Jewish Chabad and black residents turned against each other, resulting in a deterioration of already tense racial relations in the densely populated community.
Some believed that Gavin Cato died because the Hatzolah ambulance crew was unwilling to help non-Jews.
At approximately pm on Monday, August 19, 1991, Yosef Lifsh, 22, was driving a station wagon with three passengers west on President Street, part of the three-car motorcade of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, leader of the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic movement.
The police car and Schneerson's automobile crossed Utica Avenue on a green light and proceeded along President Street at a normal speed, but Lifsh's vehicle had fallen behind.
One child died and the second was severely injured.
In the wake of the fatal accident, some black youths attacked several Jews on the street, seriously injuring several and fatally injuring an Orthodox Jewish student from Australia.
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