The taxi driver whose car veered from a Midtown street and fatally pinned a man on a sidewalk Sunday night says his cab was clipped by another vehicle. Mohammed Chowdury, who had been driving his cab for two months and was planning on quitting after picking up just one more fare, says that a black car, possibly a livery cab, made a "wide right turn from a middle lane" on Third Avenue at 40th Street, cutting him off. From the Post:
Chowdhury's cab veered out of the way of the black car and jumped the curb, hitting a planter and mowing down Paul Smith, 60, killing him - and injuring his nurse wife, Donna, 55, and two family friends with whom the Smiths were celebrating a birthday at Docks Restaurant.
The Post also reports that a surveillance camera apparently supports Chowdury's story and that the police are looking for the other driver. However, according to the Times, the police don't believe the other car hit him and that Chowdury actually hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes when he was cut off. Chowdury's cellphone was also confiscated.
Chowdury said, "I didn't drive away. The man was hurt, and I wanted to help him. The black car left the accident. You don't run away from an accident. You just don't do that...I just want the family to know it was an accident. I can't apologize enough for this."
The victim, Paul Smith, was a helicopter pilot for WABC 7 and his colleagues at WABC and his fellow chopper pilots at other stations mourned his passing. Many, if not all, news choppers were grounded yesterday, partly to honor Smith and partly because there were concerns pilots hadn't slept well after hearing about Smith's death. His wife Donna has a broken pelvis, shattered ribs and bruised liver.