There are conflicting reports about the cause of a taxi-on-pedestrian accident at 112th Street and Lexington Avenue in East Harlem yesterday afternoon, but this much is certain: 8-year-old Axel Pablo is dead, and the driver of the cab, Akim Saiful Alam, was released without charges. Witnesses and police tell the Daily News that Alam, turning left from Lex onto 112th, slammed into Pablo as he stopped to pick up his mother's cell phone while crossing the street. The impact knocked Pablo out of his shoes.
Witness Salha Nagi says, "The [cab driver] turned the corner at like 50 mph, real fast, and just hit the kid. A guy was screaming at the cab driver to stop, and he was trying to leave, so I got in front of the cab and I turned off the car. [The driver] was slapping my hand, but I turned off the car, and when the cops came they took him away." Nagi also tells the Post that Alam was talking on his cellphone when he ran over Pablo, but CBS 2 reports that investigators checked phone records and "found no proof" the cab driver was talking on a cell phone at the time of the accident.
CBS 2 also has it that Pablo "ran into the street from between two parked cars," and another witness tells 1010WINS, "Everyone is saying the car hit him, but it really looked like he ran into the car." Pablo was rushed to Metropolitan Hospital and pronounced dead 30 minutes later. Alam was taken away in handcuffs but later released, and police officially classified the case an accident. Upon returning home from the hospital, Alex's mother Yolanda collapsed in grief and was taken back to the same hospital. A friend tells the Daily News, "Yolanda is very, very sick. She can't believe he's died."