In a shocking incident that occurred on Sunday evening, a hit-and-run driver plowed into seven pedestrians in Midtown Manhattan, leaving several individuals injured. One of the victims, Yutian Tang, a New York architect, described the terrifying moment when the car lost control and crashed into them. He expressed his gratitude that no one lost their lives in the incident. Tang suffered a wrist injury, open cuts on his arms and hands, and bruises. He revealed that he would require surgery on his left wrist due to a severed tendon and was unable to raise his left hand.
Tang was released from Bellevue Hospital on Monday but returned to visit his friend, Zheng Zig, who suffered more serious injuries. Tang expressed concern for Zheng, who had injuries on both legs and looked visibly worse than him. Both friends were struck by the car and thrown to the ground.
The driver, identified as 29-year-old Imani Lucas, was arrested and charged with seven counts each of attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident, and reckless driving. Sources reported that Lucas, a New Jersey native, was possibly experiencing a manic episode at the time of the incident. While in custody, she made irrational statements, claiming that "Jesus made her do it." She was later transferred to Long Island Jewish Medical Center for evaluation before being brought back to the Midtown stationhouse.
During her arraignment in Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday night, Lucas appeared confused and distraught. Her defense attorney stated that she had a history of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 10 and had always been on various medications. However, her parents, both practicing attorneys, believed that she had not been taking her medications over the weekend. Lucas' mother stated that her daughter had called her in distress on Sunday night, unaware of her location.
Authorities revealed that Lucas had disregarded a red light before striking the pedestrians in the crosswalk. After the initial collision, she continued driving towards the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and subsequently crashed into two cars on the Long Island Expressway. Thankfully, no one was injured in the second crash. Lucas was apprehended at the scene, and charges are currently pending against her.
Among the injured pedestrians was Giulia Gardani, a 34-year-old Italian tennis coach who was on her last day of vacation in New York. Gardani suffered a spinal cord injury and was initially listed in critical condition. She underwent a five-hour surgery and remains in Bellevue Hospital. Her husband, Matteo Maj, also sustained injuries but the extent is yet to be confirmed. The couple had planned to return to Italy on Monday.
The incident has raised questions about the driver's mental health, with Tang expressing his opinion that it may have been a combination of mental illness and emotional distress that led to the crash. However, Lucas' mother revealed that her daughter had a history of mental health issues and had been off her medication. The defense attorney emphasized the importance of determining whether Lucas' actions were a result of her mental illness.
As investigations continue, the victims of this horrific hit-and-run incident are left to recover from their injuries, while the public grapples with the implications of mental health and the importance of proper treatment and medication adherence.
themes: New Jersey New York (state)