31 May 2007
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.