UPPER EAST SIDE — A man was pinned between two vehicles Thursday evening in a multi-car crash on the Upper East Side that sent four people to the hospital and left others screaming in fear, police and witnesses said.
Witnesses said a TLC-licensed black Lincoln Town Car traveling south on Second Avenue had tried to swerve to avoid a car that cut him off, but instead careened into a line of vehicles parked on the east side of the avenue between East 82nd and 81st streets.
The force sent the cars crashing into one another, trapping a man who’d been standing between them, trying to load the trunk of a black Ford Explorer SUV, witnesses said.
“It sounded like an explosion. And then I heard screams,” said a witness who works at Pazzia pizzeria on the block but declined to give his name. He said he immediately saw the man pinned between the SUV and a white van that had been parked behind it.
“The guy's legs, they were crushed,” he said. “He was traumatized,” he said, pointing to the indentations in the van’s front grill. The taxi’s hood was completely crushed by the impact, which pushed the white van partially onto the sidewalk and left the street littered with shattered glass.
A total of four people were rushed to the hospital, all with non-critical injuries, said an FDNY spokesman, who said the agency first received the call at 7:45 p.m.
Neither the FDNY nor police would immediately provide additional details about the extent of the injuries or the names and ages of those involved.
The restaurant worker said the taxi’s passengers — a woman riding in the front and three young people in the back — appeared shaken, but okay.
“They all came out crying, ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’” he said. “You should have heard the screams. Everyone was panicking. Within seconds, there was a mob trying to help.”
Rescue workers were also on the scene within minutes, others said.
“It was terrifying,” said Kylie Harper, 38, from TriBeCa, who was several yards from the curb when the crash occurred and quickly moved out of the way.
“You could smell something burning,” she said. “I've never seen anything like that. It was scary.”
John Hendrix, 68, of the Upper West Side and the owner of the white van, was still shaken after receiving a frantic call from his friend alerting him to the crash.
“There was a terrible accident,” he said.