Car careens around Riverdale area on 3 wheels

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A plume of smoke and the smell of burning rubber filled the air on W. 238th Street as the a white Mercedes-Benz careened onto the sidewalk and hit a power pole after its driver suffered an apparent diabetic attack.

One of the wheels of the car came off during the initial collision. In the half-hour or so it took police to respond to 911 calls from onlookers, the driver continued to navigate around the neighborhood in the car with three remaining wheels. 

She rammed a half-dozen parked cars and barely avoided a collision with the retaining wall of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School before her car rolled to a stop, ending the incident that started shortly before 6 p.m. on Feb. 2 and was witnessed by a Press reporter at the scene.

Police say the woman suffered a diabetic attack while driving and attempted to flee the scene to seek treatment but was in shock for the duration of the incident. 

Music from the car’s radio blared as the driver, riding on three wheels now, attempted to back out on to the street, hitting three cars along the way. 

After a few minutes, she steadied the car on W. 238th Street, drove north toward a busy Riverdale Avenue and made a right.

A growing crowd of onlookers, including the owners of two of the cars that had been hit, waited in apparent amazement, as they examined the wreckage that the Mercedes left behind. 

After turning right on Riverdale Avenue, the woman hit another car, an SUV carrying the mother of a Fieldston student, who had been waiting to pick up her child. 

After a few confusing minutes as passersby waited with the victim, one police cruiser finally arrived on scene at around 6:15 p.m., and raced north towards Manhattan College Parkway to catch the driver. 

Finally at 6:20 p.m., nearly a dozen officers from the 50th precinct and two ambulances gathered in front Manhattan College’s Raymond Kelly Student Commons, where the driver had pulled over. 

After a 15-minute deliberation on how to handle the driver, who had apparently been injured during the multiple crashes, police lifted her out of the car and helped her into an ambulance. 

Police said because the driver was involved in a medical emergency and in shock, she has not been charged with anything at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.

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John Nimby

How many more times does something like this need to happen before our legislators act?

Gasoline-powered individually operated vehicles need more space than they are currently allotted. Here a building and sidewalks prevented a driver from working through a small health event. If that space was instead devoted to cars, she would have simply continued to drive along on her merry way, no accident or lost tire or risk to her personal property.

Friday, February 10