Family of the man crushed to death when a crane collapsed on his car Friday morning say he was a Harvard-educated immigrant who worked tirelessly to succeed in life.
David Wichs was walking to work on Worth Street in Tribeca when a massive crawler construction crane came toppling down on top of him. The crane, which workers were in the process of lowering due to high winds, crashed onto several cars and injured three other people, including a 73-year-old man sitting in his car.
Wichs' sister-in-law, Lisa Guttman, told The Associated Press on Friday Wichs was "the most brilliant person ever."
She says Wichs was born in Prague, immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager and took every opportunity he could, graduating with a degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
Guttman says Wichs worked at the New York-based computerized financial trading firm Tower Research Capital.
Colleague Ravi Samar said that he was a universally loved man, and that everyone who knew him is in disbelief over his death.
"I don't know anyone like him," Samar said. "He's a unique person. We're all in shock."
Friends and family streamed through Wichs' Upper West Side home through the day. His rabbi, Haskel Lookstein, was helping to make funeral arrangements.
"He was an angel, an absolute angel," Lookstein told NBC 4 New York.
"He's a wonderful, wonderful person, the best, which makes the tragedy that much greater," he said.
A neighbor across the street said Wichs waved hello evey morning.
Wichs is survived by his wife.