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NYC Crime

Tourist who lost leg in Manhattan cabbie crash was headed back to Ohio next day, family says (EXCLUSIVE)

A gregarious tourist from Ohio who was maimed in a gruesome yellow cab crash in Manhattan was enjoying her last day in the city before heading home, her stunned and anguished family told the Daily News.

Miesha Wallace, 48, lost a leg after being pinned against a wall by an out-of-control cab Monday and has been fighting for her life at Bellevue Hospital.

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The affable tourist was in the city from Columbus with her daughter and sister when a cabbie, while making a hard turn in his 2019 Toyota RAV4 SUV, struck and dragged a passing cyclist before jumping a curb about 1 p.m.

Wallace and a 32-year-old tourist from Mexico were both crushed against a wall on Broadway at W. 29th St. when the yellow cab mounted a sidewalk — sparking a heroic effort from 15 to 20 strangers who snapped into action and tried to lift the vehicle off the helpless women, startling video from the scene shows.

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“The city opened up and you want to come and enjoy the lights while you can. They were supposed to have been returning back to Ohio yesterday — and this situation happened,” Wallace’s stepbrother Barry Riggins told the Daily News. “Miesha did survive the crash, but her leg was amputated.”

Wallace and the other tourist, 32, were both rushed to Bellevue. Also injured was the 60-year-old taxi driver and the cyclist, 50, whose arm was severely injured in the crash, according to police and witnesses.

Wallace’s tight-knit family has been bowled over by the horrific crash, with Riggins, who lives in Brooklyn, describing Wallace as warm and kind not only to friends and family, but to whoever she meets.

“She’s incredibly wonderful and vibrant, the type of person that when she smiles, the room just lightens up and brightens up,” he said. “Everyone just wants to be in her presence.”

Riggins said the family has also been reeling from the cruel reminder of another heartbreaking accident. His own father, Benjamin Riggins, had his arm severed in a crane mishap while working on a project in Manhattan’s Chinatown in November 1999. He died two days later, he recounted.

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“Unfortunately, I’ve had to deal with stuff like this,” Riggins said. “It’s worse when it’s an actual visitor who is just coming here to have a good time and has these tragedies befall her.”

For the city, the accident is yet another reminder of persistent traffic dangers.

Street safety advocates are calling for the city Department of Transportation to restrict car traffic from most of Broadway, but Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez had a different message Tuesday, urging drivers to be more cautious to prevent the kind of crashes that maimed Wallace — and declining to cite any plans to redesign the Broadway intersection where the tourist was struck.

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DOT officials plan to redesign several areas along Broadway between Union Square and Columbus Circle by narrowing streets, installing pedestrian plazas and loading zones where trucks can park. The city has not released a timeline for the work.

“There’s an epidemic of reckless drivers in the whole nation,” said Rodriguez. “Those numbers are moving up higher, especially after COVID.”

At least 103 people have been killed by motorists on city streets this year, data shows. That’s down slightly from the 108 traffic deaths reported at this point in 2021, which recorded the most people killed in car crashes during a calendar year since former Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his “Vision Zero” program with the goal of making the city safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

With Harry Parker and Clayton Guse


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