GREENWICH VILLAGE — Friends and family of a West Village man are searching for answers after he mysteriously fell outside of a popular Christopher Street bar earlier this year, leaving him with debilitating head injuries.
Tim Smyth, a 53-year-old writer and producer, has been recovering from severe brain injuries that put him in a coma for three weeks after the incident occurred outside Boots & Saddle on March 24.
A passerby found him outside the bar on Christopher Street about 11 p.m. before calling 911.
Police ruled out robbery and assault — Smyth had his wallet and cell phone on him at the time — but his sister believes there is much left unexplained about what happened that night.
Smyth, who suffered brain trauma and bleeding, has no memory of the fall.
“He fell backwards, that's where the blow was. You don't fall that way, unless something pushed you, even the door. I don't think that he tripped," sister Ellen Bellicchi said. “We don't know how he fell or why he fell.”
An investigation into the incident concluded Smyth’s fall was an accident, police sources said. A grainy surveillance video showed Smyth, who lives near the bar, falling without confrontation, police sources added.
Bellicchi said the investigator found no witnesses who could explain how her brother fell.
Anna Kasabian, a family friend, also had questions surrounding the incident.
“It’s the Village," she said. "How no one could see what happened to this guy, how no one could be on the street, makes no sense to me."
Boots & Saddle owner Robert Ziegler said he was not at the bar the night of the incident and that his bouncer was in the bathroom at the time of the fall. Ziegler said he had seen Smyth at the bar before, but employees told him they did not see him inside that night.
“My employees said he was found outside my door,” Ziegler said. “Our wishes go out to his family and him.”
Police sources said it was possible Smyth fell backwards off the bar’s front steps as he pulled the front door, which opens to the outside. Ziegler said no one has contacted him about holding the bar responsible for Smyth’s injuries.
Smyth was treated for swelling and bleeding at Bellevue Hospital’s trauma unit, family and friends explained. When he awoke from his coma, he was transferred to NYU's Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine for five weeks until his insurance ran out.
Since then, he has been receiving treatment at Village Care, his sister said.
Bellicchi added that the injuries have affected her brother’s balance and eyesight. He also suffers from aphasia, a language impairment caused by brain injury.
“He's 53," she said, "and he has no way of returning to his career."