Hit or Miss

Fragile

I was walking home from KMart down 8th Street and had just crossed University Place when I saw a white van barreling down the street, tires squealing. In the time it took me to turn my head and follow its path, I heard a loud crash at the intersection. I ran back and saw that the van had hit several cars. A bicyclist was face down on the street, next to her crumpled bike. A totaled car had been pushed into the crosswalk I had just crossed.

My first instinct was to check on the cyclist, but she was already surrounded by people attending to her. I would have called 911, but I had left my phone at home. My next impulse was to snap some photos for Gothamist Contribute, but again I didn’t have my phone.

Then it sunk in that I could have easily been hit by one of the cars if I had crossed the street a minute or two later. That sent me right home in a daze.

Jeff got home a few minutes later after his haircut at Astor Place, detailing all the police and ambulances he had seen at the intersection. He said a mom with her kids had come out of a store and realized their parked car had been plowed into. Jeff didn’t seem too concerned that about my own brush with death.

Update: Jeff said there was an undercover police car that looked like a taxi on the scene. I remember seeing a taxi right after the van with flashing white lights. Do taxis have a special light system to help crowd control in emergency situations they come across? Or was it an undercover police car in a high speed chase? I did see a cop on the scene almost immediately afterwards.

3 responses so far (Respond)

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Sigh… as I said, it was my way of trying to keep you calm. 🙂

Jeff | 31 May 2007
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I’m pretty sure NYC taxis have a panic light behind the grill, as well as on one of the back corners — these are used to signal police if the driver is in trouble, I think… But it definitely could have been an undercover cop, too.

Bob | 1 Jun 2007
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Turns out it was an undercover police car (that looked like a taxi), chasing a stolen van:

NY Post

Matt Kingston | 1 Jun 2007