The taxi driver involved in a crash that caused a British tourist to lose her leg offered a public apology Friday, but placed blame squarely on a bike messenger who he had allegedly been arguing with moments before. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
He's sorry, but he's not taking the blame.
Taxi driver Mohammed Himon called the accident that severely injured British tourist Sian Green an accident.
Even as the Taxi and Limousine Commission suspended his license on Friday, Himon insisted he'd done no wrong, speaking outside Bellevue Hospital, where Green is being treated.
"I'm very sorry about that. I always will pray for her and her family," Himon said. "If I do something, I'm going to do for her."
But who's at fault? Fernando Mateo, the head of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, blamed a bike messenger who tangled with Himon just before he mounted the curb at 49th Street and Sixth Avenue.
"We have a situation where a man, a messenger attacked his vehicle, attacked it from the back and attacked it from the side, and then tried to pass him," Mateo said. "He was nervous, he was afraid, like any of us would be."
Himon wasn't initially charged by police, though the accident remains under investigation.
His license has been revoked for at least 30 days, but the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives said that's not nearly long enough."
In a statement, Transportation Alternatives said, "We...strongly condemn the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers for suggesting that Mr. Himon should be able to continue his job as a licensed cab driver...Mr. Himon admitted he flew into a fit of rage, which resulted in a severe, life debilitating injury of an innocent woman. He should not be able to operate a cab now, or ever again."
Himon has been driving a cab since 2010. Since then, authorities say he's been flagged for speeding, running a red light and making an improper turn. He's also been hit with four TLC violations, among them smoking in a cab and jumping the line at a taxi stand.
"He doesn't know how to do anything else but drive a cab," Mateo said. "If he can find another job, great. But if he can't, he would like to continue driving."
That's out of the question for now, as Green begins her long recovery.