A woman celebrating her 65th birthday was struck and killed by a box truck that careened onto an East Harlem sidewalk after colliding with a cab Monday afternoon, police said, and her Navy servicewoman daughter was at the Veterans Day Parade when she learned her mother was killed.
Olga Rivera was walking with her boyfriend near Park Avenue and East 102nd Street when the truck and cab crashed, sending the taxi into a stone wall that supports the elevated train tracks and the truck onto the sidewalk where it pinned the woman against a fence.
Witnesses said the woman's boyfriend threw himself on her body, screaming "My love, please don't die" in Spanish.
"He says over and over again in Spanish that it was her birthday and the medics then got him off," said Edwin Pagan, a witness.
As many as five people, including a woman and a young girl who were in the cab and appeared badly injured, were taken to the hospital.
Rivera's daughter Vivian Rivera was dressed in her Navy uniform at the Veterans Day Parade when she received the call that her mother was killed.
"I was just in a state of shock, I didn't know how to react to it," she said, crying. "It's still like a nightmare that I wish I could wake up from, but I know I'm not."
East Harlem residents say the intersection is dangerous because cars cannot clearly see the traffic light as they travel beneath the overpass.
"I'm sad because it happened," said Marissa Rivera. "It's been happening a lot of times and I'm just hoping they fix the light."
Neighbors have set up a small memorial at the accident site. Rivera's brother said she was "very loving, always there for you."
Vivian Rivera said her mother was a "happy woman."
"She liked dancing. She enjoyed life to the fullest," she said.