UPPER EAST SIDE — An elderly Korean War veteran was struck and killed by a car and his wife was injured after two vehicles collided on Park Avenue Saturday evening, police and sources said.
Rubin Baum, 80, and his wife, who live on the Upper East Side, were in the crosswalk hailing a cab at Park Avenue and East 59th Street about 10:30 p.m. Saturday when an eastbound black 2000 Mazda hit a northbound silver 2011 Toyota Siena, police said.
The Mazda then spun into the northeast part of the intersection and struck Baum, trapping him under the car, police said. His 62-year-old wife, Denise, was hit as well.
Baum saved his wife from further injury when he noticed the car careening out of control and pushed his wife out of harm's way, Denise Baum told DNAinfo.
"My husband saved my life — he threw me out of the way," a sobbing Denise Baum said.
Both victims were taken to New York Hospital, where Baum was pronounced dead and his wife was in stable condition with a leg injury, police said.
Friends described Baum as an affable longtime New Yorker who was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in the Korean War.
"He was the nicest, sweetest man you could ever meet," said Howard Hauptman, who knew Baum for 35 years. "He'd do anything for you."
Baum, who sometimes went by the nickname "Ruby," spent most of his career working as a women's garment manufacturer, but several years ago he took up a new line of work, as a real estate broker at Anchor Associates, according to the company's website.
Baum's father, Rabbi Shepard Baum, was hit and killed by a car in 1977, Denise Baum said.
Hauptman, who is also a broker at Anchor Associates, said Baum was a regular presence in the stands at New York Giants games, and he also loved spending time with his children and grandchildren.
The family "is devastated," Hauptman said. "This is a very horrific thing to happen."
The 20-year-old man who was driving the Mazda and the 47-year-old man who was driving the Toyota both remained at the scene.
Police said Sunday morning that no criminality was suspected.
Baum's daughter, Danielle Baum Rossen, is a senior producer at ABC News, and her husband Jeff Rossen, is a national correspondent for NBC. ABC Channel 7 weatherman Bill Ritter posted on Facebook that his "heart is heavy."
Ritter noted that the tragic story has a "sweet but sad" ironic twist. Denise Baum once told him that she and Rubin met while hailing a cab at the same time. They ended up sharing the cab, and fell in love "almost immediately," Ritter wrote.
"Two monumental cab hails - and what a life in between," Ritter wrote.