Livery driver stabbed in attempted robbery on FDR Drive in Manhattan; suspect arrested

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Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Livery driver stabbed in attempted robbery on FDR Drive
A man is in custody after police say he stabbed a livery driver during an attempted robbery on the FDR Drive in Manhattan on Tuesday. Josh Einiger has the details on the wild series of events.

MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- A man is under arrest after police say he stabbed a livery driver during an attempted carjacking spree on the FDR Drive on Tuesday.

Officials say the incident began around 2:40 p.m. on the southbound side of the FDR Drive approaching the Manhattan Bridge exit, where police were responding to a robbery.

They say the suspect, Ismael English, 20, was a rideshare passenger in a black Tesla, when at full speed on the FDR Drive, he tried to carjack the driver.

When the driver refused, police say English stabbed him three times. The car crashed into the Jersey barrier along the shoulder.

The Tesla also rear-ended another vehicle, whose passengers recounted the chaos to Eyewitness News reporter CeFaan Kim.

"The driver was chasing, being stabbed, chasing the guy who stabbed him," witness Yuliya Birvrayer said. "And the guy who stabbed him, he jumped into another car and started to wrestle with another driver. So, him and scare him away a little bit and he just run on the highway and jumping down."

Exclusive video obtained by Eyewitness News shows the wild scene that unfolded after the stabbing.

One of the motorists, a construction worker, in the vehicle rear-ended by the Tesla, could be seen in a neon-yellow shirt. He says the suspect was hitchhiking at first, then tried to carjack other motorists.

"He starts to get into somebody else's car. But he couldn't actually get into somebody else's car," witness Sergio Valvovates said. "Then he starts to fight with the driver trying to take over the car. So, when I came, I tried to scare him away."

The suspect is seen walking on the FDR and at one point jumps into a white sedan through the back window.

The driver then stops quickly, the suspect gets out, walks to the ledge, and throws a black bag down.

Video shows the suspect hanging off the ledge before falling several stories down from the FDR onto a bike path below.

English broke both legs and was taken into custody. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he is expected to survive.

He is charged with attempted murder, attempted robbery, reckless endangerment, and criminal possession of a weapon.

The 36-year-old victim, driving for Lyft at the time of the stabbing, is in critical but stable condition at the same hospital.

Mariano Belez says he stayed with the bloodied driver as he waited for help to arrive.

"I saw there was fighting and after that, I saw the guy come back to the car, the Tesla that was crashed and he tried to grab his back and he tried to run away," Belez said.

Fernando Mateo, spokesman for the New York Federation of Taxi Drivers, came to Bellevue Hospital Tuesday night to see his driver, who was getting ready for surgery.

He says cab and rideshare drivers continue to be targets for this kind of madness.

"There are people who have the need to feed off of others, those are the people that do these kinds of things," he said. "To do it on the FDR Drive on an overpass and then jump off, is insane."

Lyft released the following statement:

"The alleged actions of the rider are abhorrent and entirely unacceptable in our community. The rider account has been permanently removed from the Lyft platform. We are reaching out to offer support to the driver, and stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation."

Friends told Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson that the victim's wife is also a livery driver.

"He was happy to get the Tesla so he can make a little more money, saving on the gas," the victim's friend Eddie Gencoglu said. "It's not easy these days to work and his wife, they work hard."

Arnold Oseff lives next door to the victim in Ozone Park.

"I'm in absolute shock that this happened to him, we don't even hear them, they have two little kids, family guy all the way," the victim's neighbor Arnold Oseff said.

As for the suspect, in 2020, he was arrested on a weapons charge, pleaded guilty but when it came time for sentencing, English was a no show. He was eventually taken back into custody and is scheduled to face a judge in October.

It's still unclear why the English was walking on the FDR Drive, to begin with.

The investigation is ongoing.


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