MIDTOWN — A rookie cabdriver rear-ended a woman loading luggage into the trunk of another yellow cab minivan near Times Square Monday morning, pinning her between the two cars, police and taxi officials said.
Mohamed Gendia, 34, who had just completed the probationary period after getting his taxi license at the beginning of 2014, claimed he didn't see Rosemarie Mifsud, 42, in the pre-dawn darkness as she loaded her luggage into a cab at Seventh Avenue and 49th Street about 5:50 a.m. Monday.
"I didn't see her. It was dark. I braked and I slid. The brake didn't help me," Gendia told investigators, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, "I thought I hit the car, not her."
Police were still trying to figure out why Gendia's van couldn't stop, a police spokesman said. TLC officials said they were still determining what, if any, disciplinary action would be taken.
Cabdriver Leslaw Zielinski, 61, said he was parked at a red light when Mifsud loaded her bag into his trunk.
"I was going to make a right. She was putting a bag in the trunk. The light changed and [Genedia] moved quick and hit her," he added. "It was definitely his fault. I don't know if he was looking at his phone or what," said Zielinski, who said he's been behind the wheel of a cab for 30 years.
Both drivers remained on the scene and were not immediately charged, NYPD officials said.
Mifsud, a mother of two who works in technology, was visiting New York from California for a friend's funeral, according to her family. She was standing with her brother at the time of the crash, but he was not hit, family said.
"It was very scary. I was obviously very shaken. It was very shocking," said husband, Bill Mifsud, 43, who got the call at his home in California after the crash.
Witnesses said Mifsud was screaming in pain after the crash.
"She was on the ground. Her head was facing west and her leg was all twisted. There was a lot of blood. She was screaming in pain," said Matt McMahon, 38, who was nearby and saw the aftermath.
"I heard her scream and looked over. It was a loud scream, really high pitched. She was between the two cabs," said Runibda Foula, 35, a vendor at a nearby food cart.
A police officer wrapped a belt around her right leg to help stop the bleeding, witnesses said.
"The police came in the blink of an eye. The first cab driver stayed in the car. The second guy got out and was looking around. The ambulance came. They put her on a stretcher and took her away," Foula added.
Mifsud was taken to Bellevue Hospital and treated for injuries that did not appear life-threatening, police said.
"She's in the hospital. She's undergoing surgery. Hopefully everything will be fine," her husband said, adding that her family plans to fly out to New York to stay with her during her recovery period.