Early Saturday morning, a cab driver and a tourist were killed—and an 11-year-old was seriously injured—in a three-car accident on the Long Island Expressway in Queens. Grandmother Suzanne Nicholson had brought her grandson Gabriel Larson to NYC as a birthday present; she died in the crash but was able to save the boy by shielding him with her body.
“I’m still stunned,” her husband Dewayne Nicholson told the Daily News from Utah. “I’m waiting for someone to wake me up from this bad dream.” The bereaved husband added, "My wife loved New York. She was planning this for three months. She was really excited.”
Nicholson had sent her husband a text message shortly after landing: “Terrible flight, but we’re here." Nicholson and Gabriel had just arrived in JFK from Utah and were headed to Manhattan; their taxi driver lost control during a rainstorm on the LIE near 66th St. in Elmhurst about 12:30 a.m. The taxi struck the rear of a 1995 grey Porsche—the Porsche rolled onto its driver's side, while the yellow cab flipped toward the right shoulder. A garbage truck was unable to stop and smacked into the taxi. Gabriel suffered broken ribs, a fractured collarbone, a punctured lung and a concussion.
The two were headed to their hotel to meet with Nicholson’s best friend Irene Hacker and her grandson. The week’s plan included planned stops at Yankee Stadium, the Statue of Liberty and the American Museum of Natural History. “We were going to be the coolest grandmothers,” Hacker told the News. The trip was “going to be the most awesome thing on the face of the earth.” Hacker knew something was wrong when her friend suddenly stopped texting her that night: “She texted, ‘We’re in the taxi, I will see you in a little while,’ ” Hacker recounted. “But she never came.”
Taxi driver Mohammed Hussain, 46, was the other person killed in the crash. Hussain, an immigrant from Bangladesh who drove a cab for 20 years, was planning a Disney World trip for his family one day before his death. He leaves behind a widow and two young sons— one 9-year-old, the other 14-months-old.