1 dead, driver charged after car jumps Midtown curb, slams into hydrant

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- One person was killed and another is in critical condition following a one-car crash in Manhattan Tuesday morning.

Eyewitnesses say the car was speeding on Sixth Avenue in Midtown when the driver lost control at West 54th Street around 3:45 a.m. and crashed into a fire hydrant with such force that it nearly split the car in two.

The passenger, 33-year-old Juan Avila, of Jackson Heights, was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The 31-year-old driver, Shiva Sharma, of Wyandanch, was taken to Bellevue Medical Center. He is in police custody at the hospital, charged with vehicular manslaughter.

The crash is under investigation, but speed is believed to be a factor.

Sixth Avenue was closed from West 53rd to West 55th street for hours to investigate, with traffic moving again by about 8:30 a.m.
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