An out-of-control yellow cab crashed into an East Village coffee shop early Sunday, critically injuring an elderly man, police said.
The customer, Preston Krupin, 71, was one of five people injured when the SUV taxi barreled into The Bean coffee shop on First Ave. and E. Third St. after a collision with a Jeep Cherokee about 1:30 a.m.
The taxi, driven by Syed Nazir, 49, was heading north on First Ave. when it slammed into the Jeep, driven by Robert Batista, 19, who was turning from E. Third St., police said.
The taxi jumped the curb, hitting and injuring two bicyclists – Naveen Kumar, 28, and William Jordan, 29 – before smashing into the coffee shop, where Krupin sat at a table by the front window.
“It sounded like an explosion,” said Steve Guzman, 40, who lives nearby.
Kristin Kunkel, 30, of Manhattan, and her boyfriend were at a lower East Side bar before she hailed Nazir’s cab. Less than a minute later, she said from Bellevue Hospital Sunday, the cab crashed.
“All I remember was that he was swerving, and I put my hands in front of my face and the next thing I know I was in front of the coffee shop,” she said.
Kunkel hit her face on the glass divider separating the cab’s front and backseats. She lost two teeth and cut her lip.
Krupin, who lived alone near the coffee shop, was in surgery at Bellevue last night. Police said he was in critical but stable condition.
Kumar said he and Jordan were in the bike lane, heading to a bar with friends, when the cab suddenly clipped them.
“It happened very fast, and it’s very sketchy,” he said. “…I think I heard the cars crash. Then I was on one side and [Jordan] was on the other and the cab was in between us on the sidewalk.”
Kumar was treated at Bellevue Hospital for knee and ankle injuries and released. Jordan, who had neck and back injuries, was expected to be released from the hospital today, Kumar said.
Nazir was in stable condition with neck and back injuries.
Witnesses said Batista, of Manhattan, ran the light, but police were still investigating whether either driver was to blame. Both passed Breathalyzer tests.