Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

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

File photo: Dave Colon
It's our December donation drive. Please give from the heart (and wallet) by clicking the logo above.
It's our December donation drive. Please give from the heart (and wallet) by clicking the logo above.

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.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Disabled NYer’s are Victims of Gov. Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause

So many New Yorkers can’t use the closest subway station to their homes because they don't have an elevator. And Gov. Hochul just halted funding for 23 new lifts.

July 23, 2024

DOT Will Fast-Track Private Sidewalk E-Bike Charging Stations

The mayor announced a new sidewalk e-bike charging station initiative, along with progress on the e-bike battery swap program and more money to FDNY for educational outreach.

July 23, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: LEGO Finally Gets It Edition

Streetsblog has had our issues with LEGO over the years, but we're willing to forgive. Plus other news.

July 23, 2024

Speeding Fuels Pedestrian Death Crisis As Council Stalls ‘Sammy’s Law’ Changes

Pedestrian fatalities were up 27 percent in the first six months of the year compared to 2023.

July 23, 2024

Bike Rack Saves Pedestrians in Crash on Busy Brooklyn Street

The white Hyundai involved in the crash has been nabbed 10 times by city speed- and red-light cameras since Oct. 10, 2023, city records show.

July 22, 2024
See all posts