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Cops Blame ‘Medical Episode’ For Chain Reaction Crash That Injures 3 Pedestrians

2:08 PM EST on December 8, 2019

File photo: Dave Colon
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A driver who blew through a red light in Manhattan and caused a chain reaction crash that injured seven people, including three pedestrians, will most likely escape consequences after he told police they suffered some type of medical episode.

According to the NYPD, the Subaru driver was moving east on East 23rd Street at about 8:52 p.m. on Saturday, when he ran a red light at Park Avenue, then struck three pedestrians — two 49-year-old women and a 43-year-old man — and then rear-ended a Ford Fusion which hit a Toyota Highlander. (A witness disputed the police narrative, telling the Daily News that the driver was turning left from Park Avenue onto 23rd Street, and then swerved in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid hitting a pedestrian in the crosswalk.)

Police said that seven people were injured in total, and all of them were taken to Bellevue Hospital where they were listed in stable condition. A police spokesperson said that the driver suffered some kind of medical episode, but could not provide any more information on what that meant.

A witness to the crash described the scene as "carnage" to the New York Post. An off-duty EMT told the News that one the female pedestrians suffered a head wound so bad that her skull was exposed.

The driver of the Subaru is not expected to face criminal charges. Like the magic words "I didn't know I hit someone," claiming some kind of "medical episode" is often times a way for drivers to get off scot-free. Although drivers who injure or kill on the road aren't automatically exempt from consequences, prosecutors have to show that drivers knowingly stopped taking medication or ignored doctor's orders to not drive before they caused their crashes.

The latter issue was a notorious factor in the case of Dorothy Bruns, who was indicted for manslaughter and homicide in 2018 after a crash in Park Slope in which she killed 20-month-old Joshua Lew and 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein. An investigation into the crash revealed that Bruns, who suffered a seizure which caused her to slam her car into the children and their parents, was allegedly told by doctors not to drive a car.

The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office is still investigating the circumstances that led to the September crash that killed 10-year-old Enzo Farachio while he waited on the sidewalk for a bus. In that instance, the driver of the car also claimed to have suffered from some kind of medical episode — the details of which the NYPD has not revealed (and the driver himself, Alexander Katchaloff, declined to discuss it with Streetsblog).

In 2017, a for-hire driver started a chain reaction crash in Midtown Manhattan that injured five people, but escaped charges by telling cops he suffered an unspecified medical episode.

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