2006_06_340west.jpgA cab carrying a group of friends early Sunday morning crashed into a building, causing one passenger to be thrown from the car and then fatally hit by an oncoming cab. The accident claimed the life of Danielle Ricco, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, as the cab headed south on the West Side Highway. The cab's other passengers claim the driver, Hassan Afzal, was trying to scare them by driving quickly, after they had complained about the loud music. Afzal lost control around West Houston Street, and ended up crashing into 340 West Street. That's when Ricco was thrown from the car, and another cab that was trying to avoid the crash ended up hitting her. Her friends say Ricco was actually trying to climb out of the car.

Emergency workers had to remove the cab's roof to retrieve Afzal and the other three passengers from the car. Police are investigating the claims made about Afzal, who is at Belleve in serious condition. And it's unclear whether the cab's passengers were wearing seatbelts, but the NY Times points out that if a customer asks a cab driver to turn down music, the driver is supposed to comply. The Taxi and Limousine Commission's Taxi Rider Bill of Rights.