MANHATTAN (PIX11) – Mohammad Himon’s attorney surrendered Himon’s taxi license early Friday afternoon and pleaded guilty on his behalf for a Taxi and Limosine Commision summons against the driver. The summons was issued for prior traffic violations and not for Himon’s role in Monday’s Midtown accident, which led to British tourist, Sian Green, being seriously injured.
At the same time his suspension went into effect, Himon stood in front of Bellevue Hospital, the very hospital where the victim of the apparent road rage accident was still recovering. It was the one of the first times Himon spoke out to reporters.
In his native tongue of Bengali, Mohammad Himon, expressed his desire to clear up what he called a reporter not understanding his broken English. When asked about his driving record several days ago by some reporters, Himon said he did not say he was a bad driver but instead received a number of traffic violations from police because of minor infractions and misunderstandings.
Himon, rarely looked up during the half hour long press conference.
He appeared nervous, overwhelmed and shaken as he stood alongside Fernando Mateo with the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers. Mateo defended Himon and said the cabbie hadn’t slept in days and was distraught over Green’s injuries and would like to even express his sorrow to her family.
“I’m just feeling sorry about that. I’m just feeling very sorry about that,” said Himon over and over again.
“We’re hoping they give him the opportunity to come bring her flowers and say to her that he is sorry for what happened. We’re hoping they will allow us out of the goodness of their heart. Not today, not tomorrow but hopefully during the week so can pay our respect as an industry and as a driver,” said Mateo.
Mateo even seized the opportunity to not only defend Himon, but also placed nearly full blame on the bike messenger involved in the accident.
“This is what cab drivers have to deal with every single day. It’s about time we crack down on these guys, who are riding in the middle of the streets, zig zagging through cars banging on cars and assaulting and intimidating people,” said Mateo.
When asked if Mateo was disregarding aggressive taxi drivers, he responded, “They have the right to be on the road. They have the right to be in the middle, the center, and the left lane. Bike drivers don’t have the right to ride in the middle of the street. I’m not saying there aren’t issues that we have as an industry. I’d be stupid to say that I’d be irresponsible to say that. When you spend 12 hours a day behind the wheel you’re going to make infractions you’re going to go through a light you’re going to go faster in some areas than others.”
The NYPD has said their investigation into the accident continues, though there have not been any criminal charges filed. Himon’s attorney added, Himon has not been questioned by police since the initial incident.
Meanwhile, Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group for bikers and pedestrians, condemned the NYS Federation of Taxi Drivers for suggesting Himon continue his job and said Himon should not operate a cab now, or ever again.