Midtown taxi victim's foot amputated, dad says

A woman was struck by an out-of-control taxi that jumped a curb in Midtown late Tuesday morning on 49th Street and Sixth Avenue.

August 21, 2013 8:15:35 PM PDT
The father of Sian Green, who was hit by a cab in Midtown, told a local newspaper in England that doctors "have had to amputate what's left of her foot."

Emergency surgery was performed after the crash, which happened on 49th Street and Sixth Avenue just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

Sian Green, a 21-year-old who was visiting from Leicester with her friend Keshia Warren, had just arrived to the city and was enjoying a hot dog by Rockefeller Center at the time. Several passersby and witnesses were also being credited with helping save her life.

"Her friend Keshia is still in shock. We are a really close family we are all devastated by what has happened. We don't know what to say," her father Jason Green told the Leicester Mercury. "We just want to be at our daughter's side right now."

Sian remains at Bellevue Hospital where she is in a critical condition, her father said. The hospital has not released any information about her condition. Her other leg was also badly injured.

Her boyfriend has talked to the victim on the phone. According to his father, "Sian is as upbeat as you can be about this, she is determined to not let this ruin her life."

Sian's father told the newspaper that he and her boyfriend would be flying to New York on Wednesday to be at her side.

The police investigation into the accident is continuing. The cab driver, 24-year-old Mohammad Himon, disputed claims from a bike messenger that the crash was at least partially intentional.

That bicyclist, Kenneth Olivo, was also struck but was not seriously injured. The cab driver was questioned at the scene, given three summonses and then released.

On Wednesday we spoke to the cabbie on the phone.

"Yeah, the biker was banging on my car," he said.

He insists he doesn't remember what happened next.

Himon has been issued a summons since he wasn't authorized to drive the cab yesterday.

We know he's had other accidents and violations in the past, but nothing as severe as this. "Oh, I feel very bad because last night, I couldn't sleep. I feel very bad about myself and for the lady, too," Himon told us.

Asked whether he still plans on driving a taxi, he said "I don't know, sorry, but I need to cut off the phone, thanks."

Meanwhile, at Bellevue Hospital, Green's close friend Keshia Warren, who was with her at the time of the accident, remained by her side Wednesday.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said on Wednesday that charges are still possible in the case.

"The investigation is going forward contrary to some information put out. These collisions and accidents take some time to reconstruct so that investigation is still going forward. A summons is issued to the cab driver, but it's certainly not closed," he said.

Max Crespo, who owns a food truck down the street, came running when he saw crash.

"A yellow cab jumped the curb, didn't hit any breaks, hit a girl and knocked her leg right off, and probably the other one too," he said. "A gentleman, a plumber, he saved her leg, grabbed his belt and applied the first tourniquet. We grabbed a dog leash from some person, I don't know where they went, and [tied] the other tourniquet. We grabbed the bottom part of her leg and put it in an ice bucket and filled it with ice."

That plumber, 44-year-old David Justino, was being praised as a hero.

"She screamed bloody murder," he said. "I just told her, 'Sweetheart, I got you, you're okay, an ambulance is coming. Try not to move. You're just going to make it worse. Calm down.' I didn't want to tell her her leg was gone. I just said, 'I have you, don't move, you're okay, you're going to be fine, you're going to live, it's okay, calm down.'"

Police say the incident was proceeded by a traffic dispute between Himon and Olivo that stretched for several blocks along Sixth Avenue before the crash. Witnesses said they were passing each other and exchanging words. One thing led to another, and somehow the cab ended up on the curb. Olivo thinks the driver was gunning for him.

"He turned the car in my direction as I was leaving to come after me, went through me, went through about eight other people before I was on the ground and the lady was on the ground," he said. "He made a conscious decision to come after us."

Celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is a surgeon in the city and who tapes his syndicated talk show nearyby, heard the accident and rushed to the scene to help out, staying until ambulances arrived.

Oz said in a statement that emergency medical crews were already treating the injured woman when he arrived. He took a photo with Justino, who he credited as saving the woman after he fashioned the tourniquet.