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Tearful Survivor of Sidewalk Crash That Killed Pregnant Woman Testifies in Driver's Trial

By DNAinfo Staff on November 30, 2010 6:50pm  | Updated on November 30, 2010 7:15pm

Survivor Tassia Katsiambanis testified Tuesday about the 2009 deadly crash that killed her pregnant friend.
Survivor Tassia Katsiambanis testified Tuesday about the 2009 deadly crash that killed her pregnant friend.
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DNAinfo/John Marshall Mantel

By Shayna Jacobs

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — The survivor of a deadly crash on a Midtown sidewalk last year gave tearful testimony Tuesday about the terrifying accident that killed her pregnant friend.

Keston Brown, 28, a Gristedes maintenance van driver, was charged with manslaughter in the death of the expectant mom, Ysemny Ramos, 29, and is now on trial.

"I couldn't move and they put a neck brace on me and then eventually I was put on the back board an onto a stretcher," said Tassia Katsiambanis, 37, who was a close friend of Ramos'.

"And this whole time i just kept saying to them that they had to find 'Semy' because she was pregnant," she added, sobbing before jurors.

Brown was allegedly driving the van close to the sidewalk so his friend in the passenger's seat could "cat call" the women as they were walking home from work on March 27, 2009 at East 37th Street and Madison Avenue, testimony revealed.

He allegedly got too close to the women, striking and killing Ramos and badly injuring Katsiambanis, according to prosecutors. Both women worked at the Israel Berger & Associates architecture firm.

Brown admitted to having four beers and a shot of Hennessy with his lunch shortly before taking the wheel of what prosecutors called "a ticking time bomb" — the Gristedes' vehicle that he was responsible for maintaining.

Katsiambanis, who described being trapped underneath the van, scared for her life and for her friend, suffered a dislocated elbow and is still receiving psychical therapy treatments.

"I just kept feeling that need to get out from under there, so I started to shimmy my way out on my back side," the survivor said.

"On my way out I bumped my head...but then i made it out and I started to scream for 'Semy.' "

"And then I screamed and I screamed for her," the distraught friend added.

Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday afternoon after Katsiambanis' testimony. The trial will resume on Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Brown faces up to 25 years in prison.