Cab Driver Who Severed Woman’s Leg: I’m the Victim

Yes, he really did. Mohammed Himon and Fernando Mateo outside Bellevue Hospital today, where Sian Green is still recovering. Photo: ##https://twitter.com/TraceeCarrasco/status/370967779782180866/photo/1##@TraceeCarrasco##

The Taxi and Limousine Commission tells us Mohammed Himon pleaded guilty to a suspension summons and surrendered his hack license this afternoon. “His suspension has technically begun,” a spokesperson said. So while Himon won’t be behind the wheel of a cab for at least 30 days, you might see him on your television.

Himon — who drove a quarter of a block on a Midtown sidewalk with a cyclist on the hood before slamming into and severing the leg of British tourist Sian Green — held a press conference outside Bellevue Hospital this morning to apologize to Green, blame the cyclist for the crash, and call for license and insurance requirements for people who ride bikes.

Himon was joined by Fernando Mateo, former head of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, who according to a sympathetic story in the Post had this to say: “The only crime committed here was by the bicyclist. This is not Mohammed’s fault. It is the fault of the cyclist. Who would you rather believe, a man who immigrated to this country and supports his family back home, or a thug?”

And:

“There’s a lot of pressure and demands on drivers. There are drivers that are irresponsible but that isn’t the case here.”

“This young man has a family to support,” Mateo said. “If he can find another job, great. If not, he should be allowed to drive a cab.”

“It’s not my fault, it was an accident,” Himon said. “I didn’t see [cyclist Kenneth Olivo] — only when he banged on my car. He is not good.”

Council Member Dan Garodnick, whose district will soon include the intersection where the crash occurred, issued this statement in response to Himon’s publicity stunt:

Standing outside a hospital and pointing fingers while an injured tourist suffers inside is an unnecessary distraction, and truly disrespectful to the victim. We need to get clarity on the facts, and to assess whether criminality exists on the part of anyone here. Trying to deflect attention, and publicly placing blame before that happens, serves only the driver’s self interest. Most fundamentally, we need to live in a city where cars, bicyclists and pedestrians can safely co-exist. This area of midtown happens to be one of the most challenging, and the city needs to explore ways to make this area safer for all.

We don’t really have anything else to add, but if you do, consider this an open thread.

Have at it, folks.

  • J

    Probably all the bike lanes and ped plazas in that area make it impossible not to drive like maniacs.

  • Eric McClure

    For sure. Also waiting for the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers to sue Citi Bike for restraint of trade, charging that bike share makes competition for street hails more cutthroat.

  • Guest

    Is he complaining about banging on the hood before or after he threw him onto the hood by driving into him?

  • moocow

    And these points are what I have been wondering and worrying about, that cabs who hurt people rarely can even pay out what they should. Someone said it here or on Gothamist, the UK should issue a travel warning for NYC, if a driver injures you, don’t expect justice or money for medical expenses.

  • Andres Dee

    I think we should encourage people who kill or maim with cars to give press conferences near where victims or their families are healing or grieving. Perhaps one day they’ll encounter a “second amendment type”.

    Interesting scene in the photo: Himon, Mateo, guy(s) holding the banner, bodyguards (to protect Himon or Mateo)? But such a missed opportunity…where, oh where is Veronica Moss when you need her?

  • Stephen Hoffman

    To any cyclist who has ever braved Manhattan streets it is pretty obvious what happened. The cab driver flew into a rage when he found a “mere cyclist” blocking his access to the left turn lane. Rather than slow down and get in line behind the cyclist he speed up and tried to turn ahead of him. He heard a “thump” against his taxi, realized he had hit the cyclist and broke off his turn, plowing into the sidewalk. Now (with the help of the Federation of Taxi Drivers—press conference etc.) he is trying to lie and weasel his way out of responsibility for his road rage.

  • Andres Dee

    Did you guys know that Fernando Mateo has a Wikipedia page? His bio reads like a real honest-to-god character out of Horatio Alger.

  • Anonymous

    “Can someone please tell me what a license plate for bikes is going to do?”
    Help NYPD identify the dead cyclist, so they can release the cab driver back onto the streets more quickly?

  • Anonymous

    In my fantasy world, the Taxi Drivers Association is equally liable for the criminal acts of its members, and may be sued for all they are worth.

  • Jared R

    So where do we go from here? There is no one publicly countering this bullcrap. The unwashed masses are eating thus up. I think the livable streets community needs to step up. Please let us know how we can assist.

  • Steve O’Neill

    NYC Councilman Dan Garodnick Slams Cab Driver for Being ‘Truly Disrespectful’ to Taxi Crash Victim

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/261121-nyc-councilman-dan-garodnick-slams-cab-driver-for-being-truly-disrespectful-to-taxi-crash-victim/

  • Andres Dee

    NYTimes: “Mr. Mateo criticized how Mr. Himon, who is from Bangladesh, had been portrayed, saying that his poor English had made it difficult for him to communicate his side of the story and that the news media had incorrectly reported that there were existing points on Mr. Himon’s license because of safety infractions.” Read: “Ignore all the contradictory and incriminating statements. They’re mistranslations.” Between this and the leaks about Olivo’s past, Himon’s got someone working on his behalf.

  • Andres Dee

    Epoch Times: “Mateo said that he has the support of two lawmakers who will introduce the bills on the city and state level: City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and State Senator Adriano Espaillat.

    Mateo did not deny that cab drivers are known for aggressive road behavior, but said that taxi drivers had a right to be on the road, while bicyclists did not.”

    Anyone verify if these legislators are truly on board?

  • Anonymous

    Oh the irony of Mateo calling someone else a thug and for stricter laws. This from a guy who thuggishly controls most uptown Latino nightlife and breaks DOB, DEP, FDNY, DOT, DPR and other regulations regularly at his “restaurants” (which illegally become nightclubs at night and trash their host neighborhoods). A guy who, for example, lies to the press and approval boards about La Marina being 500 seats, then raises to capacity to 6,000 and blames DOT for the ensuing traffic. And calls anyone who complains a racist.

    He is a toxin and a cancer to uptown and needs to be run out of town in a poorly driven cab, pronto.

  • Anonymous

    From the Post article:

    “He was in my way and I got upset, so I gave him notice that I wanted to pass through,” Himon said.

    “I didn’t see [the bike messenger] — only when he banged on my car.

    _______

    Hmm: (A) I didn’t see him. (B) He was in my way.

    Mr. Mimon, how do you know he was in your way if you didn’t see him? Please reconcile these two contradictory statements.

  • Joe R.

    Link to the Epoch Times article:

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/260489-taxi-federation-calls-bicycle-laws-after-bloody-midtown-crash/

    “A yellow taxi driven by Faysal Kabir Mohammad Himon, struck Green after a bicyclist banged on the back and the side of the taxi, causing Himon to panic and accelerate.”

    He panicked because someone banged on his taxi? He’s essentially saying he’s not cut out to drive a taxi in NYC then. This just gets dumber and dumber.

  • Clarke

    I’d make a comment about her paper’s office being right near there and that she could’ve been enjoying her lunch in that plaza, but that’d be too obvious.

  • Andres Dee

    Agree. Once the word is out that a cyclist caused this, even if untrue, it’s going to be hard to undo the perception.

    Also, with the finger pointing between Himon and Olivo and between cabbies and cyclists, it’s easy to overlook that there’s a real, innocent victim here. Her name is Sian Green. Her trip to New York just got ruined. Her life just got more complicated. I wish the livable streets community could do something for her and her family without being “gauche”.

  • a

    Perhaps what happend was Himon didn’t see him, so cut across the road, recklessly cutting off the cyclist while attempting to make a left turn. After slowing down to turn, effectively passing the cyclist then slamming on the breaks, the cyclist went around him, banging on the cab to let the man in the metal bubble know that there is someone there, necessary since the cabbie wasn’t looking. Himon got upset that someone he almost just killed by driving recklessly touched his car so he honked and then floored the gas to pass through the biker forgetting that cyclists are humans and so can not be passed through.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t say I’m surpised to hear there’s a dossier on Mateo. any links would be appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    Here is one, for starters. This was done by Inwood residents about Mateo’s La Marina.

    https://app.box.com/s/qs5vkh0a53zgn4y7n7ud

  • Andres Dee

    Hey, lawyer-dude, try Lexis-Nexis & Wikipedia 😉

  • Driver

    It is not uncommon for taxi passengers to bang on the back of a cab stopped or moving very slowly to alert the driver to their presence before entering. The driver’s story is really not plausible.

  • Andres Dee

    People are sensitive about having their cars touched. Kind of like genitalia. In the case of most NYC cabbies, who “lease” their cabs by the shift, it’s like touching their rented genitalia…unless there’s money to be exchanged.

  • Anonymous

    Where are the “conservative” immigrant haters? Oh, yeah. They’re all behind the wheel of the SUV’s. When you’re on the same “drivers” team, you stick together, right Cons?

  • Anonymous

    Put’s a whole new meaning on “Don’t touch my junk!” doesn’t it?

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a conservative but I do drive a big-ass SUV too — when I’m not riding bikes — and I say this guys is a sociopath that needs to have a book thrown at him with full force, made an example of. I don’t care if his family starves, at least they still have their legs so they can jobs.

  • Anonymous

    Adam,

    Well then, you don’t sound like you’re on the “drivers team”. Not every single person who drives an SUV is, though most certainly are. As are most sports-car people, low-rider pilots, the asshats who pass on the shoulder, the jerk who cut you off this morning in traffic. And in FAR too many cases, though fortunately fewer than a few decades ago, fleet truck drivers.

    And very nearly 100.0% of cops.

    In other words: narcissistic, self-centered, entitled jerks “driving” multi-ton rubber-tired vehicles in a way likely to save them two minutes in a thirty minute commute, while endangering everyone around them.

    That’s the drivers’ team.

  • Adam Herstein

    Banging on a car is equivalent to them honking at me. They are surrounded by glass and steel, so they can’t hear me yell or ring my bell.

  • Andres Dee

    Adam: To you, it’s equivalent. To a “motorhead”, you barely exist. You don’t matter, except when you “get in his way”. And when you dare touch his car…

  • Andres Dee

    Village Voice blog also going with the “messenger’s fault” angle. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2013/08/30_rock_cab_crash_biker.php

  • Anonymous

    They are not on board with any such legislation and their staff seemed pretty freaked out by Mateo’s claims once they found out about them. Epoch Times has since printed a correction. As Andres Dee points out, Mateo is very connected (even deep within the Bloomberg adminstration) and he likely assumed that when he said jump his usual political allies would jump. But not this time, not on something so clearly wrong,

  • Andres Dee

    Any updates on how Sian and her family are doing? Will she do rehab in the US or in England? Is she able to get out at all? Is her family getting local support to make for a tolerable stay?

    How about the investigation? Any video or eyewitnesses?

  • I’ve felt for some time that taxi behavior was an area that active travel/sustainable transport people could try to affect – through sending price signals to drivers. I’ve blogged about my experience of asking passengers not to tip dangerous drivers and I suggest others try something similar: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-midtown-tragedy-tribeca-run-in-and.html

  • Anonymous

    If I Was her I’d want to get out of the states soonest and never comeback.

    What investigation?

  • Rabi Abonour

    More importantly, if the cyclist was behind the cab, how exactly did he get hit from behind and flip over the hood?

  • Rabi Abonour

    I’m not saying I support calling someone a thug in a press conference, but nonspecific name-calling can’t really be slander/libel.

  • Wow… Tough to add to that.

  • Andres Dee

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