By Meredith Hoffman and Dave Goldiner
HARLEM — A wheelchair-bound 89-year-old woman was killed when a pickup truck hit a livery cab, jumped a curb, and plowed into pedestrians at a busy Harlem intersection Thursday, authorities said.
Leonia White, her elderly companion and two other pedestrians were all struck when the impact of the crash sent the truck careening out of control around 12:10 p.m., witnesses and fire officials said.
"They were knocked right out of their shoes," said Luke Shaw, 40, who works in a restaurant at W. 145th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard where the accident took place.
Chan Daniels was celebrating his 33rd birthday with a walk to the park with his brother and a friend when all hell broke loose.
The other two were struck by the van and he missed getting hit by inches.
"I almost saw death," he said. "Today's my birthday —God must have spared my life today."
White, who lived on Seventh Avenue at 141st Street, was rushed to Harlem Hospital where she was pronounced dead. The other victims were taken to St. Luke's Hospital with injuries that were not considered life threatening.
The accident unfolded as a silver Lincoln Town Car headed north on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. tried to make a left turn onto W. 145th Street. The Toyota pickup going south on Adam Clayton Powell struck the sedan and spun out of control, cops said.
Neighbors said the intersection is a death trap with crashes taking place regularly.
"There are so many accidents here," said Yahaira Cruz, who lives on the corner.
Niurka Ventura said she was watching TV when she heard the crash.
"It makes me nervous. Every day there's an accident here,
said Ventura, 43. "The mayor has to do something about it."
Linwood Small, 64, said his cousin was killed in a crash at the same corner and another friend was also hurt there.
"It's a bad corner," he said.
Advocates called on the city to do more to protect pedestrians from car crashes, which kill more New Yorkers than gun violence.
“This horrifying crash underscores the deadly conditions prevailing on New York’s streets," said Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives. "It's time to put pedestrians first."
DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione recently told Community Board 10 that Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard is more dangerous than all but 10 percent of the city's streets. West 145th Street is one of five "high crash" corridors in Central Harlem.
More than 50 percent of the vehicles tracked at any given time were speeding, she said.
"Even during rush hour you can find vehicles speeding in Community Board 10," Forgione said.