An Ohio tourist is the second person to lose her leg after a New York City taxi driver plowed into a crowd of diners after hitting a bicyclists.
Meisha Wallace, 48, of Columbus, lost her leg after it was pinned against the wall and the taxi on Monday around 1pm.
Wallace was reportedly enjoying her last day in the city and had stopped to eat at Black Seed Bagels in the Flatiron District when the horrific accident – that left six injured, including the taxi driver – occurred. Three were critically injured.
Her family told the New York Daily News (NYDN) that the Ohioan has since been fighting for her life at Bellevue Hospital.
‘The city opened up and you want to come and enjoy the lights while you can. They were supposed to have been returning back to Ohio [on Tuesday] – and this situation happened,’ Wallace’s stepbrother Barry Riggins, of Brooklyn, told the NYDN.
Another woman, a 32-year-old Mexican woman who has not been identified, also lost her leg on Tuesday.
Bystander Marcos de Ogueta said one of the women’s thighs were mostly gone while the other one had a mangled ankle and lost her leg below the knee, according to the New York Post.
Another bystander reportedly wrapped his belt around one of the women’s leg in a makeshift tourniquet. It is unclear which woman it was.
The two women were pulled out from under the taxi cab by 15 to 20 strangers, after they lifted the 4,000 pound car off of them.
Meisha Wallace, 48, of Columbus, ((pictured) lost her leg after it was pinned against the wall and the taxi on Monday around 1pm
Wallace was reportedly enjoying her last day in the city when the cab driver crashed into Black Seed Bagels in the Flatiron District and has since been fighting for her life at Bellevue Hospital
Wild footage shows the moment a group of New Yorkers heroically lifted a taxi cab off of pedestrians who were mowed down during a crash
Another woman, 31, also of Columbus, was injured, as well as the cyclist, 50.
The driver, 60, reportedly told authorities the brakes failed when he turned onto Broadway off West 29th Street, causing him to hit a cyclist and go over the sidewalk into restaurant-goers.
The NYPD is still investigating the accident and will be looking into the car’s possible malfunctions, as well as, the possibility of operator error.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, 47, has asked the public to keep those injured in their ‘prayers’ and said he had spoken with Adams on how to get the families to the Big Apple to be with their injured loved ones.
Riggins also said Wallace is an ‘incredibly wonderful and vibrant’ person whose smile ‘just lightens up and brightens up’ the room.
‘Everyone just wants to be in her presence,’ he told the NYDN.
It is unclear if Wallace’s out-of-state family is traveling to the Big Apple to be with her.
The family is reportedly quite distressed over the amputation, as Riggin’s father Benjamin died two days after having his arm severed in a crane mishap in Manhattan’s Chinatown in November 1999, he told the NYDN.
‘It’s worse when it’s an actual visitor who is just coming here to have a good time and has these tragedies befall her,’ he told the NYDN.
New Yorkers have experienced persistent traffic dangers with high-trafficked areas, such as Herald Square – which was only a few blocks away from the bagel shop near West 29th Street – being dangerous.
Mayor Eric Adams, 61, said the scene was ‘troubling’ and it was caused by ‘human recklessness and street design.’
‘Traffic safety is all of our concerns, and we are going to continue to push forward to make sure our streets are safe,’ he said.
‘We should not have to accept, and I will not accept, a reality where New Yorkers die from traffic violence.’
Street safety advocates have called for the city’s transportation department to restrict traffic flow near busy Broadway, but Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez just urged drivers to be more cautious on Tuesday, the NYDN reported.
A Mexican woman, 32, also had her leg amputated. A bystander said one of the women’s thighs were mostly gone while the other one had a mangled ankle and lost her leg below the knee. Another bystander reportedly wrapped his belt around one of the women’s leg in a makeshift tourniquet
Three people were transported to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition, including the taxi driver, who reportedly fainted and was said to be in ‘complete shock’
A bike is mangled after a cab crashed on Broadway, jumping a curb
‘There’s an epidemic of reckless drivers in the whole nation,’ he said. The commissioner also cited the pandemic as one of the reasons the numbers are rising.
More than 100 people have been killed by motorists in the City That Never Sleeps in 2022.
The department, however, does have plans to redesign several areas along Broadway, Union Square, and Columbus Circle, the NYDN said. It plans on narrowing streets, adding pedestrian plazas and loading zones, to make it easier for trucks to park and citizens to cross.
It is unclear when the roadwork will start and be completed.
In addition, Adams said he was honored by the group of New Yorkers who rushed to help the women.
‘No matter how difficult things are, no matter how many people say New Yorkers can be rude and New Yorkers can be bad, when it is time to help each other, we are there. And I just want to personally say thank you,’ he said, according to ABC 7 New York.
NYPD Deputy Police Chief John Chell also called the community’s willingness to help a ‘remarkable scene.’
Investigators are looking into the crash to see if the driver had a medical condition or if the car’s brakes malfunctioned as the driver said in his initial statement, according to ABC 7. Investigators are also looking into to see if it was an operator error.
The driver was, however, said to be in good standing and had a valid taxi license, but was in ‘complete shock’ and fainted at the scene.
Police said it appeared to be accidental, but an investigation was underway to determine exactly what happened.
The yellow cab was on West 29th Street, turning south onto Broadway, when it collided with the bicyclist, Chell explained.
The cab crossed through a bike lane, jumped the curb and careened onto the narrow sidewalk, striking several pedestrians before coming to rest against the side of a building.
A taxi jumped a curb in New York’s Flatiron District, injuring six people at least three of them critically on Monday
‘As this occurs, a remarkable scene took place,’ Chell said. ‘About 15 to 20 New Yorkers attempted to take this cab off these women.’
The cab was a Toyota SUV, which is said to weigh around 4,200 and 4,300 pounds.
Video and photos from the scene in front of Black Seed Bagel and Juice Generation show the taxi on the sidewalk and several of the plant barriers damaged. A mangled bike was left in the bike lane.
The Emergency Management department advised people to expect traffic delays, road closures and emergency personnel in the area of Broadway and West 29th Street. Drivers should find an alternate route.
A witness to the accident told the New York Post that the cab driver hit a cyclist first, before slamming into the women who were eating at Black Seed Bagel.
‘Everybody rushed over and lifted the taxi off two women trapped underneath,’ the witness told the publication.