Driver Arrested After Car Hits Hydrant in Midtown, Kills Passenger: Police

One man is dead and another is in custody after an out-of-control car slammed into a fire hydrant on Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan early Tuesday morning.

The two men were trapped inside the crippled car and had to be removed by rescuers.

The 33-year-old passenger, Juan Avila, of Queens, was taken to Saint Luke Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The 31-year-old driver, of Wyandanch, New York, was in critical but stable condition at Bellevue Hospital Tuesday morning.

He was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with vehicular manslaughter, police said. 

The impact of the crash was so intense that the fire hydrant ended up in the back seat of the car. Detectives were working Tuesday morning to figure out if speed was a factor. 

Witnesses say the sedan was moving fast moments before it crashed into the hydrant outside the Warwick Hotel at 4 a.m.

“The light here at 54th was red, and it looked like he tried to stop for the light and lost control. And that’s what made him run into the fire hydrant,” said one woman, who witnessed the crash while out on a smoke break. 

Another man said he heard the tires make a noise like the driver was trying to stop right before the impact. 

The crash left the car crunched against two short poles on either side of the hydrant. The car was still there as the sun came up Tuesday. 

A stretch of Sixth Avenue between 54th and 55th streets was closed to traffic Tuesday morning as police investigated the horrific crash.

Contact Us