Four children in New York were among five people hurt when a livery cab jumped a curb and crashed into a group of pedestrians in the Bronx near a school bus stop Wednesday morning, witnesses and fire officials said.
Fire officials said two of the five victims were critically injured. The worst hurt included an 8-year-old girl, who broke her legs and pelvis in the 8:30 a.m. accident at Valentine Avenue and East 194th Street, according to authorities and people familiar with the family.
Witnesses said the injured 8-year-old was trapped under the vehicle; good Samaritans tried to lift the car off her but couldn't and someone got a jack to lift the cab off the child. Firefighters arrived and got the girl out. Her 5-year-old brother was also hurt.
"I still have that image in my mind, seeing the children underneath the car," the grandfather of another child at the scene said. Breaking into tears, he said he thought his own grandson had been badly injured or killed at one point because he couldn't find him.
The injured siblings' 33-year-old mother, Gianerys Heredia, was also injured; she remains in the hospital with her children. A babysitter said another of Heredia's children, a 10-year-old girl, was with her family at the time of the accident but the mother pushed her out of the way.
"It was a bad experience, watching them cry for their mom and dad," she said. "It's something that's always going to touch my heart."
The sitter said the badly injured 8-year-old girl was undergoing surgery Wednesday.
An 11-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl suffered less serious injuries, officials said.
Images from the scene show a heavily damaged car up on the sidewalk, braced against a deli that has its steel grate down. Caution tape cordons off the scene and the front of the vehicle appears completely destroyed, with pieces of the smashed hood scattered on the ground.
Neighbors say the school bus stop near the accident scene should have been moved years ago because it's a high-traffic area with speeders.
The livery cab driver was questioned by authorities but not charged.
In an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York, the driver, Bialo Daillo, said he was heartbroken by the accident. The driver said he stepped on the break and the car wouldn't stop. He said he feels fine physically, but is sad for those who were injured.
"I just care about the other people; I'm not bleeding. I'm sorry for the other people," Daillo said. "Nobody wants that. Nobody wants this. I don't know what happened."
The driver says he has been driving a cab for 18 years.
George Perez, who witnessed the accident, said everyone started screaming when Daillo's cab barreled into the crowd.
"People were flying everywhere," he said. "I witnessed shootings, all kinds of crimes here, but nothing like that. It was really horrific to see young people, kids in school ... laying like that everywhere."