NYC Woman Falls Into Trash Chute, Nearly Loses Arm

Thirty-year old Margaret Baumer nearly lost her arm when she fell head-first into her apartment building’s garbage chute over the past weekend. According to the NY Daily News, she was trapped in the chute for close to an hour before emergency responders were able to free her. It isn’t clear how she fell or if there were safeguards in place to prevent the accident.

The accident happened in the wee hours of the morning on West 21st Street in Chelsea. Emergency workers reportedly arrived on the scene at about 5:50 a.m.

The woman had fallen head-first into the chute and was trapped by the hydraulic-powered compactor. She was stuck for “at least” 45 minutes, according to officials.

“It was being crushed” said an FDNY source about Baumer’s arm. “She was in a world of pain.”

A neighbor remarked that she heard the woman’s friends discussing how to get her out before help arrived. Said neighbor didn’t offer to help because the situation didn’t sound serious and she believed it was “just drunk people.” Investigators are looking into whether alcohol may have played a role in the accident. Continue reading


Horrible Accident Involving Unlicensed Teen Driver Kills Four

Five young men were riding in a brand new Suburu Impreza. The driver, 17-year old Joseph Beer, had received the car as a gift from his parents for graduating high school early and enrolling at St. John’s University. Before the end of the night, all but Beer would be dead, after the car failed to negotiate a dangerous curve, leaving the road and hitting a tree.

According to the NY Daily News, the four passengers, all 18-years old, were thrown from the vehicle. The only survivor was 17-year old Beer.

“Unfortuantely, it has its own nickname of ‘dead man’s curve’ because it comes up so quickly and it’s such a sharp turn,” said Lakeview Fire Department Chief Heather Senti. It was this curve that Beer couldn’t handle, and which sent the car off the road. The car was split in half by the tree. Continue reading


Man Trips Over Trash, Hit by Garbage Truck

A 31-year old man who had only been living in the city nine months was killed last week when he fell in front of a Sanitation truck. According to the NY Daily News, the accident happened because business owners in the area have been putting their trash on the sidewalk, creating a fall hazard and causing the man to trip.

Andrew Schoonover was out with his sister that night and had been watching the game at a bar earlier. The two parted ways and Schoonover ended up in Manhattan. It was about 1:20 a.m. when emergency workers were called to E. 84th St. on a report that a man had been hit.

The accident happened in front of a popular pizzeria, Two Boots. The business has been cited for leaving a sidewalk obstruction. While the manager of Two Boots had no comment for reporters, it was made known that construction in the area had forced businesses to leave their garbage on the sidewalk rather than directly in front of their property. Continue reading


NYC-Bound Bus Overturns, Injures 23

Another tour bus bound for New York City crashed over the weekend. This time, thankfully, no one was killed. But, the accident marks the latest of several in the area and leaves officials wondering what more can be done to protect bus travelers.

According to the Associated Press, the bus was en route from Canada to NYC when it overturned on an exit ramp in Northern New Jersey. After turning over, it slid down an embankment and came to rest on its side.

Twenty-three people on board were injured in the crash, including the driver who suffered a cut in his arm. Eight of the injured passengers were admitted in critical condition. Continue reading


Will Wi-Fi Technology Prevent Future Car Accidents?

A new pilot program in Ann Arbor Michigan is testing the technology we often use to connect to the internet in order to prevent accidents. And so far, the results look promising. But will we all one day have WiFi accident prevention capabilities in our vehicles, or is this another case of futuristic technology that won’t come to full fruition?

According to the NY Daily News, the Transportation Department is testing a system that uses WiFi to allow vehicles to communicate with one another. The cars send signals to one another, as does infrastructure like bridges and streets under construction. It’s these communications that researchers hope will one day change how we prevent accidents.

“This cutting-edge technology offers real promise for improving both the safety and efficiency of our roads,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “That is a winning combination for drivers across America.”

It works something like this: vehicles equipped with the technology emit and receive signals. They may warn the driver about a stalled vehicle ahead or someone coming around a blind corner. So far the vehicles used have been voluntarily supplied, and 90% of those drivers who tested the WiFi technology liked it and would like to use it on a regular basis.

“Vehicle-to-vehicle communication has the potential to be the ultimate game-changer in roadway safety — but we need to understand how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real world,” said head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration David Strickland.

In addition to being a helpful voice in your vehicle, the technology will also gather information about usability and the prevention of auto accidents.

While testing is in its infancy stages and there are no discussions of the technology being rolled out on a larger scale, the program could lead to some pretty cool advances in new model cars of the future.


NHTSA: Alcohol & Drugs Common Factors in Serious Accidents

A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that numerous fatal accidents in the U.S. are directly related to alcohol and drugs consumption. While there’s no surprise that alcohol and drugs hinder your driving ability, the sheer number of fatal accidents involving intoxicated driving is a little unnerving.

In all, more than half of the people killed in car accidents in this country had alcohol or drugs in their system at the time of the accident.

The NHTSA looked at data from 14 states and found that men and people driving at night were most likely to have alcohol or drugs show up on the toxicology screen conducted after the accident. It isn’t clear how much they had in them, or whether it was enough to cause impairment, but there is little doubt that at least some of them, if not most, were impaired.

While we don’t know how concentrated the levels were and can’t definitively say the drugs caused the accident, there’s a pretty good chance they were at least a contributing factor.

57% of 20,150 drivers who were killed from 2005 to 2009 tested positive for at least one drug, including alcohol. Alcohol was the most commonly found substance, followed by marijuana, and prescription stimulants.

Among men, the statistic was 60%. For women, it was less than half. Also, those who crashed at night or on the weekend were more likely to test positive for drugs. Continue reading


Park Ave. Pedestrian Accident Kills One, Injures Another

An older couple had just left a jazz concert and was looking for a cab back to their Upper East Side home when they were struck by an out of control car on Park Avenue. The 80-year old man, Rubin Baum, was killed and his wife was injured.

According to the NY Daily News, a 2000 Mazda sedan hit a minivan that happened to be transporting a Pakistani diplomat. The Mazda then lost control and went into a tailspin. It hit the Baum couple, sending Denise into a parked truck and running over Rubin.

With so many pedestrians always in motion in the city, pedestrian accidents are relatively common. But, the NYC Department of Transportation says the city is safer than other large cities in the country.

They say that for 2009, the last year for which their data is available, traffic fatalities were down 35%. They also say that pedestrians account for 52% of deaths in traffic accidents between 2005 and 2009. Continue reading


Tips for Preventing an Auto Accident

At Omrani & Taub, we see our share of careless drivers and the safe drivers they affect. We know that many people are cautious to avoid accidents at every turn, but still find themselves a party to life-changing crashes. In an effort to reduce the number of accidents, we offer some safe driving tips.

While you cannot prevent every motor vehicle accident, because you cannot control the other driver, you can take steps to reduce your risks of an automobile accident on New York roads.

  1. Drive with traffic. If traffic is moving along at 55 mph and you insist on going 45 mph, you may be rear ended (and cursed). On the other hand, if you are passing everyone like they were standing still, you could be the one to clip another driver. While you must follow traffic laws, be aware of your surroundings and how fast other drivers are moving. Keeping time with the average cars will help reduce your chances of a speed-related accident.
  2. Be aware of blind spots. Before pulling out into traffic or passing another vehicle, don’t just check your mirrors—look over your shoulder. Your mirrors can’t catch all of your surroundings, so don’t depend on them to do all the work.
  3. Keep your car maintained. Keep good tires on your vehicle and ensure it is running in good condition. Blow outs are a frequent cause of accidents. Also, you don’t want to end up stalled on the side of a busy freeway.
  4. Drive for the conditions. If it’s rainy, slow down and turn on your headlights. If it’s icy, allow for plenty of time to get to your destination. Different weather conditions demand different driving approaches. As the condition of the road changes, so should your driving approach.
  5. Put away distractions. Many people can’t help but look when they hear a text or email alert on their phone. But that split-second glance could cause a serious accident. Resist the temptation to give into distractions. Put your phone in your glove box if needed.
  6. Watch other drivers closely. Keep an eye on the cars around you. If someone is driving recklessly—keep your distance. When you are the safe driver,  being aware of everyone else will help keep you that way.

No matter how cautious you are, you can become the victim of another driver. If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact the attorneys of Omrani & Taub today. Call 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAWSUIT) to discuss your legal options.



Racing Mercedes Near Radio City, Piloted by Drunk Driver, Injures Five

Pedestrians in front of Radio City Music Hall got a show they weren’t expecting this past weekend. According to the NY Daily News, they witnessed two Mercedes’ racing before one of them slammed into a hotel shuttle bus, injuring several. “It was horrific,” said one witness of the scene.

The driver of the wrecked Mercedes was apparently racing his high-end car with another similar vehicle. He ran a red light and broadsided the shuttle, which was heading east on 50th street, bound for the airport. It was about 4:40 a.m. and as the passengers were headed to catch their early morning flights, Imran Ahmed of Jersey City, was apparently still celebrating from the night before.

One passenger of the bus was partially ejected and pinned underneath the vehicle. A group of bystanders lifted it off of him so he could escape.

“His bones had to be crushed,” said one of the good Samaritans. “I’m surprised he survived that.” Continue reading


Calls For NYC Cyclists to Adhere to Laws, Practice Greater Safety

Just a few weeks ago, we blogged about New York City bicyclists and how they may actually make the roads of the city safer. But in a heated and ongoing argument, others believe that the bikers are smug, don’t care about the safety of others, and disregard the rules set up to protect them and everyone else. In an article in the Brooklyn Ink this week, we see that other side of the coin. Cycling advocates will tell you that as the number of bikes increase, the number of accidents decrease. But no direct correlation between that cause and effect can be found. Instead, some caution, cyclists must be held responsible for the accidents and injuries they cause. Case in point: two cyclists on two separate occasions in San Francisco, hit and killed pedestrians crossing the street. In both cases, the bicyclist faced criminal charges. Continue reading


Despite Lack of Criminal Charges, Justice Can be Found for Accident Victims

A thoughtful piece in the NY Times this week examines the lack of criminal charges in pedestrian accidents. According to the article, the NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad only investigated 2 percent of the near-3,000 serious, nonfatal crashes in the city last year. While this can be chalked up to a lack of staffing, some say it simply isn’t good enough.

The accident squad is a crew of only 20. They are only tasked with investigating fatal accidents or those where it is likely the victim will die. In other cases, usually, no investigation takes place at all. This offers little solace to accident victims who are severely injured by reckless or distracted drivers.

In this city, where many of us put miles on our feet everyday, it’s not unusual for people to be hit as they cross the busy city streets. And often, when  the pedestrian is crossing with the light; the driver simply defends themselves with a simple, “I didn’t see them,” and carries on.

As pedestrians, we can follow all of the traffic safety rules, be cautious of where we walk and who we step in front of, and even wear reflective clothing at night. But if we are hit by a car, and we survive, there will likely be no criminal consequences for the driver—even if they were drunk. Continue reading


Carnival Worker’s Death Exposes Dangers

This past weekend, a man was killed as he worked at the Feast of Mother Cabrini festival in Brentwood. According to reports, the man was trying to change the music on the ride when it hit him in the head.

The Washington Post reports 22 year old Michael Austin was only a few weeks into his job with the amusement company when the accident occurred.

The Scat ride features baskets that spin on rotating arms. Austin went under the ride to do something and was hit when he stood up. He was transported to the hospital where he later died.

There were 16 people on the ride at the time and none of them were hurt. The owner said inspectors looked at the ride after the accident and found nothing wrong with it. He also notified the Labor Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about the accident.

Accidents like this are rare, particularly for the carnival workers who are used to working around these large and often dangerous machines. More often, a ride patron is the one who is injured.

Carnival rides are often used for decades after their manufacturing. They are hulking machines with large working parts and their whole purpose is to carry people through frightening and exciting movements—making it easy to see how they could turn dangerous in inexperienced hands or if there was a mechanical flaw. Continue reading