Taxi driver, pregnant passenger, pedestrian in critical condition

April 26, 2005, 12:31 PM EDT

NEW YORK — A taxi driver whose out-of-control cab set off a chain reaction of crashes at Times Square remained in critical condition on Tuesday, as did his pregnant passenger and a pedestrian.

The driver, Syed M. Zia, 54, of Corona, Queens, was driving along 42nd Street near the Port Authority Bus Terminal at around 10:30 a.m. Monday when he collided at the intersection of Eighth Avenue with a station wagon, which then hit a pedestrian, authorities said.

The cab then went around the station wagon, striking the pedestrian a second time, then sped off, and hit a minibus, then a Chevrolet Impala, and finally hit a row of taxicabs, the last of which stopped near Ninth Avenue, police said.

Emergency workers had to tear the roof off of Zia’s vehicle to rescue him. He was hospitalized with several injuries including two broken legs, a broken arm, and internal cuts. His 8-months pregnant passenger, Maria Stein of East Rutherford, N.J., suffered a fractured wrist and neck and a ruptured esophagus.

The pedestrian, identified as Ruben Abayez, suffered a ruptured spleen and a possible fractured pelvis from being struck twice.

All three were in critical condition Tuesday at Bellevue Hospital Center, a spokesman said. Eight other people injured in the chain reaction were treated and released.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission said Zia had four moving violations and was cited twice for failing to maintain a clean cab and twice for errors or omissions in his trip sheet. He faced criminal charges pending his release from the hospital.