A Walk On Wild Side 10 Injured As Vehicles Jump Curb
BY LAURA WILLIAMS, K.C. BAKER AND BILL HUTCHINSON WITH BILL EGBERT AND ALICE MCQUILLAN
Tuesday, February 17, 1998
A trio of car collisions sent out-of-control motorists careening onto Manhattan sidewalks yesterday, mowing down two walkers in their tracks and in one case plowing into a midtown hotel ballroom.
The Presidents’ Day mayhem sent 10 people to hospitals with busted bones, scrapes and bruises. One 50-year-old Yonkers nurse walking on the sidewalk saw her legs mangled by a runaway car.
“Luckily, it was a holiday, or else there could have been a lot more injuries,” said one busy fire official.
A pool of blood at the corner of Park Ave. and E. 68th St. marked the most serious of a rash of accidents on what was supposed to be a quiet holiday.
At 1:53 p.m., Ramchamdani Hardevi and Allison Rose were strolling separately down a Park Ave. sidewalk when a maroon Nissan Stanza plowed them down.
Hardevi, a mother of seven adult children who celebrated her 50th birthday last week, suffered mangled legs and several broken bones, her children said.
“We’re just hoping and praying that our mother recovers,” said one of Hardevi’s sons as New York Hospital doctors worked to save the injured woman’s legs.
Rose, 53, was knocked to the sidewalk headfirst as the still-moving Stanza bowled her over and skidded 30 feet, scraping the front wall of Hunter College, police said.
She was taken to New York Hospital with a broken wrist and facial cuts, officials said.
The crash was triggered when the Nissan’s driver, Mohammad Alam, 22, who has been driving for 15 months, turned left in front of an NYPD traffic enforcement car, police said.
The police car, driven by traffic agent Sonia Payne, 42, plowed into the side of the Nissan, sending it on a curb-jumping collision course with Hardevi and Rose, police said.
“I heard a loud bang, like metal crashing,” said witness Paula Lisi, 18, a receptionist at an upper East Side doctors’ office. “I came outside, and on the passenger seat [of the traffic car] one woman was sprawled out.”
Payne and her passenger, traffic Officer June Murphy, 35, suffered leg injuries, police said. Alam also sustained leg injuries, according to police.
In an earlier accident, a yellow cab slammed into another yellow cab at the intersection of E. 49th St. and Lexington Ave.
After being hit, one taxi sent pedestrians diving as it ricocheted onto the sidewalk and into the window of the Hotel InterContinental ballroom, showering the street with shards of glass and masonry, police said.
“My back was turned to the intersection, and I heard a loud bang,” said Police Officer William Doyle, who came within an inch of being plowed over by a runaway cab. “I turned around and this cab was headed for me, so I dove out of the way and it careened into the building.”
The 10:40 a.m. crash was triggered when an eastbound yellow cab blew a red light and collided with another yellow cab headed downtown on Lexington, police said.
Both cab drivers, Ahmed Md Alkas Uddin, 43, and Singh Nirmal, 40, suffered minor injuries, police said.
Passengers Michael Holt, 58, of Tennessee, riding in one cab, and Jack Steiringer, 50, of Georgia, riding in the other, suffered head and back injuries, police said.
In a third accident, at 10:30 a.m., a homeless man, Alex Chernjabsky, allegedly was drunk when he stole a big rig at W. 42nd St. and 11th Ave. and took it on a destruction derby ride around the block, police said.
Witnesses said the tractor-trailer knocked down a fence and a sign before smashing into a black Lincoln Continental and sending both onto the sidewalk.
It came to a crashing stop in front of a Croatian church on W. 41st St.
Chernjabsky suffered minor injuries and was taken to Bellevue Hospital.