A van driver who plowed onto a bustling sidewalk near the Empire State Building, killing a pregnant woman and seriously hurting another woman, was charged Saturday with manslaughter and assault, prosecutors said.
Some witnesses said the driver, Keston Brown, and a passenger had been moving slowly alongside the women, catcalling them, in the moments before the van lurched forward and slammed into a building.
Brown, of the Bronx, was jailed without bail following Saturday's arraignment, which relatives of the victims attended. He did not enter a plea, and his attorney didn't immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.
Brown, 27, is due back in court April 2. Prosecutors didn't say how much prison time he'd face if convicted.
The Friday wreck killed Ysemny Ramos, a 29-year-old mother of two from Brooklyn. Relatives said she had a third child on the way. She had been headed home to celebrate her third wedding anniversary.
"She was full of love,'' her distraught husband, Renaldo Ramos, told the New York Post. "She refused to see the glass half-empty, and she always filled up my cup when I saw it half-empty.''
The accident happened at about 5 p.m. in midtown Manhattan a few blocks from the Empire State Building.
A 37-year-old woman, one of Ramos' co-workers at a building consulting firm, was hospitalized in serious condition.
The crash was one of two bad ones Friday involving vehicles that hopped curbs.
An hour earlier on the Upper West Side, seven people were injured when a taxi hurtled into a pizzeria, shattering its windows. That wreck left one person in critical condition and two others in stable condition, fire department officials said. There were no arrests.
Frances Rivera was at the pizzeria counter with her daughters when the plate glass windows exploded.
"My kids flew from the impact,'' she said.
Her 8-year-old, Tianna Rivera, was among four people with minor injuries, cut by flying glass when the yellow sport utility vehicle hit Mama's Pizzeria. Her 4-year-old was unharmed.