Daily News, July 17, 2011, "SUV Flies, But no One Dies as it Lands on Top of Cab"

BY ERIK BADIA, BOB KAPPSTATTER and LARRY McSHANE

AN SUV doing 110 mph sailed off the FDR Drive and crushed a cab stopped 20 feet below in a horrifying wreck that miraculously spared all eight people involved.

“They’re lucky to be alive,” said witness Brian Duncan, 55, after the ghastly 3 a.m. crash yesterday. “Nobody died there. Do you know how incredible that is?”

The cab’s roof was flattened like a pancake when the green 2001 Land Rover cartwheeled over the elevated highway’s guardrail and crushed rookie hack Atif Raza’s ride at an East Side red light.

The green SUV’s force of impact drove the squashed cab about 150 feet along the service road near E. 23rd St., strewing shattered glass and car parts in its wake. The two vehicles hit roof to roof.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said witness London Jones, 47. “I was actually seeing a car come off the divider and flip. It was flying.”


The six passengers inside the crippled SUV were screaming for help, while its driver was pinned inside with the steering wheel crushed against his legs.

City emergency workers peeled back the vehicle’s roof to free all seven people inside. One woman stunned witnesses by walking away from the wreck. Two others were critically injured, although they were later listed in stable condition.

The 38-year-old driver passed a breathalyzer test, police said. The speeding SUV was headed downtown from the home of one of his passengers when the driver lost control and the vehicle took its unscheduled flight, police said.

Raza, 23, who was finishing up his shift, was treated and released at Bellevue Hospital. He was chatting on the phone with his brother Amar Abbas when the SUV came out of the sky and into his roof.

“All of a sudden he started screaming,” said Abbas, 25, of Brooklyn. “He was at the red light and the car flew off the FDR and landed on him...He’s one lucky guy.”