NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A driver of a sport-utility vehicle died Friday evening after his vehicle flipped over on Sixth Avenue in Midtown, snarling traffic as rush hour got into high gear.
The accident happened at around 4 p.m. on Sixth Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets, right near Bryant Park.
Police said a preliminary investigation determined that the SUV was traveling northbound on Sixth Avenue when it struck an Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus that was stopped at a red light. The SUV continued north where it then struck a light pole and overturned.
The MTA said no passengers on the bus were injured, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported. There was no word on how many people were on the bus at the time of the accident.
The 44-year-old man was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead on arrival, police said. The man’s identity has not been released by authorities pending proper family notification.
As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, investigators towed the SUV from the scene around 8 p.m. But glass and other debris remained from the accident.
Witnesses said it was horrifying to see the SUV flipping into the air.
Kevin Wright and his work partner saw the tail end of the accident unfold.
“We just happened to hear a big boom,” he said.
Wright said the driver hit several other objects after the boom.
“That’s when he hit the post right there that says, ‘West 41st Street.’ That cause him to actually flip, and he actually landed in the street on top of a fire hydrant,” Wright said.
“Thank God there was nobody walking over there,” said witness Craig Ross. “They would’ve gotten hit with the tire or the hydrant.”
Investigators spent several hours at the scene reconstructing the accident. There was no word if speed played a role.
“The first thing that went through my mind, ‘What the heck happened?’” Ross said. “You know, I didn’t know what happened.”
“In New York when we hear big booms, we automatically get scared,” Wright added.
CBS 2 has learned that the SUV driver died from an apparent heart attack.
The MTA bus driver was also interviewed as part of the investigation.
Following the accident, two lanes were closed heading uptown and traffic could be seen backed up all the way into the mid-30s.
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