By Phil Corso and Christina Santucci
The son of an Ozone Park cab driver killed in a three-vehicle crash on the Long Island Expressway early Saturday said his father had been worried about the weather a few hours before he died and thought about staying home.
“He said he didn’t want to go to work because of the rain. I said not to go,” said 9-year-old Mohammed Adil, the elder son of 46-year-old cabbie Mohammed Zakir Hussain.
But Hussain had not let the weather deter him, and police said he was behind the wheel of a 2008 Crown Victoria yellow taxi when it struck the back of a Porsche, spun sideways and was hit by a garbage truck during a heavy rainstorm. Both the driver of the Porsche and the garbage truck were not injured, police said.
Both Hussain and a passenger, 60-year-old Suzanne Nicholson of Utah, were killed en route to Manhattan from Kennedy Airport, according to the NYPD. Nicholson’s grandson, 11-year-old Gabriel Larsen, survived the accident and was listed in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital Sunday. according to police.
Hussain’s relatives said the crash was the first he was involved in during his 20-year career as a taxi driver.
“He never did the speeding,” said Hussain’s brother, Jalal U. Ahmed, 48. “He was very careful.”
Ahmed said Hussain’s wife was devastated by her husband’s death and is struggling now to care for the couple’s two sons, the younger of whom, Mohammed Aahil, is 13 months old.
“It’s a very hard time now for her,” said a 44-year-old female cousin, who identified herself as Akhtar.
Relatives said Hussain, whose nickname was “Makhon,” had come to the United States in 1988 from Sylhet, Bangladesh.
“I’m asking everyone for prayers for him,” Ahmed said Tuesday, the day after a Muslim burial was held for Hussain.
Larsen still has no idea that his grandmother was killed in the crash, his father Dean Larson told the New York Post. He suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung, a fractured collarbone and a concussion, his family said.
Police said that when taxi struck the rear of a 1995 gray Porsche around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, the Porsche flipped and came to a rest on its driver’s side, and the taxi spun and ended up sideways in the right lane of the highway near 66th Street in Maspeth. A Mac garbage truck, which was unable to stop in the rain, slammed into the cab.
Police said no criminality was suspected in the crash.
Nicholson had flown into John F. Kennedy International Airport with her grandson late Friday night as a birthday present and was scheduled to meet with friends in a Manhattan hotel. Police said she was found shielding Larsen with her body.
Shortly after landing, Nicholson had texted her husband, Dewayne Nicholson, to let him know they had made it to New York for a vacation he said she planned for months.
“Terrible flight, but we’re here,” the text said.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.