Cabbie Who Struck Tourist, Severing Her Leg, Apologizes and Blames Cyclist
KIPS BAY — The cab driver whose taxi severed a young woman's leg when he careened up onto the sidewalk at Rockefeller Center in the midst of a road-rage argument with a bicyclist apologized to the victim and blamed the biker at a press conference Friday.
"I'm very sorry about it," said Mohammed Faysal Himon, 24, a Bangladeshi immigrant, at Bellevue Hospital, where the woman, British tourist Sian Green, is recovering. "I'm going to always pray for her. I wish her luck."
Himon, 24, said he lost control of his cab at 49th Street and Sixth Avenue during a rolling argument with biker Kenneth Olivo on Tuesday. The cab jumped the curb and smashed into Green just before noon as she was eating a hot dog, according to witnesses, police and press reports.
Doctors at Bellevue were unable to reattach her foot and had to amputate part of her leg.
"It's not my fault," Himon told reporters Friday. "It was an accident."
Himon said that Olivo came out of nowhere and startled him when Olivo banged on the cab in the middle of Midtown traffic.
"I didn't see him at all," Himon said. "Once he knocks on my car, I see him."
His account is consistent with what the cyclist told reporters after the accident.
"I told him, 'Stop,'" said Olivo, who added that he then banged on the cab's hood. "He gets angry. He honked his horn and accelerates."
Olivo said that Himon stepped on the gas, hit his bike and mounted the sidewalk, striking Green.
Fernando Mateo, the head of the State Federation of Taxi Drivers, who rallied around Himon after the crash, said the cabbie meant to hit the brakes but stepped on the wrong peddle.
Olivo and Himon disagree on who caused the accident.
"He's not good," the cabbie said of the cyclist.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission has begun the process of suspending Himon's hack license, a spokesman said, because he currently has seven points on his driving record and four infractions on his TLC permit.
After Tuesday's crash, Himon was issued a summons because he was not authorized to drive the taxi he was using.
Mateo's cabbie advocacy group rushed to Himon's defense, calling for legislation against reckless cyclists. They pledged to donate $3,000 to Green and her family.
"The person at fault and whose actions need to be examined is the biker who attacked the cab and has a criminal record that includes 22 arrests," said Mateo, referring to Olivo's previous arrests for hitting his roommate and threatening a man, according to reports.
The drivers group also called for legislation that would require police to keep tabs on what they referred to as "dangerous bikers."
“We need to create a database that will identify dangerous bikers across the city. We need to prosecute, punish and fine those bikers who exhibit road rage and attack motorist and their vehicles,” Mateo said.