Baby on Life Support After Firefighter Crashes Into Pregnant Woman: NYPD

By Trevor KappGustavo Solis and Murray Weiss  on March 7, 2014 10:52am  | Updated on March 7, 2014 2:26pm

THE BRONX — A newborn baby was clinging to life after a drunken firefighter crashed into a pregnant woman in Soundview, forcing doctors to deliver the baby prematurely, prosecutors said.

Lt. Sean Farrell, 39, was off duty at the time and behind the wheel of a 2005 Ford Explorer when he plowed into Mamtaz Begum, a pregnant mother of two who was walking across Westchester Avenue and White Plains Road about 5:10 p.m. Wednesday, prosecutors said.

Begum, who was seven months pregnant, was on her way home from a prenatal checkup at Montefiore Hospital, friends said. She was walking in the crosswalk with her friend, Rashida Begum, no relation, when she was struck, relatives said.

Begum was rushed to Jacobi Hospital, where she underwent an emergency C-section to save her unborn baby girl, who is currently on life support, according to the criminal complaint.

Begum had not regained consciousness from the surgery, family members said Friday afternoon.

''She is in pain," said Begum's brother Salim Hossain, 49, "There was a lot of blood.''

Begum's eldest daughter, Mousumi Akhter, 17, said she feared the worst when she heard the news.

"When I heard about the accident, I was hopeless. I was scared for the baby and my mom," ''Everyone was excited for the baby," said Akhter, who also has a 12-year-old brother.

Begum's friend, Rashida Begum, was being treated at Jacobi Hospital for a fractured pelvis and several other injuries, officials said.

She had been seen buying baby food the day of the accident from a local deli, according to the store's owner, Helal Hossain, 44.

"It is really sad that this happened," Hossain said.

According to police sources, Farrell admitted he had two beers before getting behind the wheel.

“Yes, I was driving. I was just making a turn on Westchester, and all of a sudden boom! I hit those ladies,” Farrell, who was assigned to Harlem's Battalion 16, told police, according to the criminal complaint.

He refused to take a breath test at the scene, prosecutors said. It was his second drunken driving arrest, prosecutors added.

Farrell, who joined the FDNY in 2003, was accused of drunken driving on the Upper West Side in 2010 after getting into an argument with a cabbie and having a blood alcohol level of 0.12, according to officials.

He pleaded to impaired driving, a misdemeanor, and paid a $300 fine, officials said. After that incident, he was placed on probation, but was restored to full duty, sources said. Then in June of 2012 he was promoted to lieutenant.

''I wish he could go to jail," said Akhter. "He should have punishment so next time he doesn't do this again. It's not only one life, it's two lives you're almost killing."

Farrell was arraigned Thursday night on charges including drunk driving, aggravated vehicular assault — a class C felony — and reckless endangerment. He was held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

His license was suspended, according to the DA's office. Sources say that the department will fire him if he is convicted.

Farrell's lawyer, Craig Hayef of the law firm Stuart London, did not respond when asked for comment.

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