NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City taxi driver said Friday he wasn’t responsible for the crash that cost a British tourist her leg despite the swift aid of bystanders including TV’s Dr. Oz.
Mohammed Fasyal Himon, 24, told reporters that he was “very sorry” about the incident but blamed a cyclist who pounded on his car and yelled at him for causing the crash.
“I am praying for her and her family,” he said. “But it is not my fault. It is just an accident.”
British tourist Sian Green, 23, lost a leg when she was struck by Himon’s taxi at Rockefeller Center on Tuesday. Quick-thinking bystanders including a plumber, a nurse and television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz rushed to her aid. Plumber David Justino immediately applied a tourniquet made from a belt.
Green’s other leg was badly injured, but she likely will regain use of it with physical therapy, one of her doctors said.
Fernando Mateo of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers joined Himon to say that the aggressive behavior of the cyclist — who he said has a criminal record — was at fault in what he described as a terrible accident.
This is what cab drivers have to deal with every day,” he said. “It could have happened to any of us.”
“Police say the bicyclist has not been charged.
Mateo announced the creation of a fund to help Green with medical expenses. By Friday afternoon the fund had already raised $3,000.
Mateo went on to criticize how Himon has been portrayed in the media, saying that the Bangladeshi’s poor English has made it difficult for him to communicate his side of the story and that the press has incorrectly reported the existing points on Himon’s license as for safety infractions.
Green’s parents, Jason and Sonia, have thanked New Yorkers for their support following the accident.
“There are not enough words to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped our family during this difficult time,” the couple said in a statement released by Bellevue Hospital, where their daughter is recovering.
Mateo and the cabbies’ union are trying to block a move by the authorities to suspend Himon’s cab license. Himon has been issued a summons, and police and prosecutors are still investigating.