Former New York City mayor David Dinkins was sued on Friday by a bicyclist who claimed that a car driven by the 89-year-old had struck him on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, then drove away.
According to the lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Rodrigo Garcia, 32, of the Bronx, said he suffered “serious and severe” injuries when Dinkins, driving south on York Avenue at 69th Street, ran into Garcia, who was on a bicycle at the intersection.
In the suit, Garcia said after the collision, the driver fled.
Neither Garcia nor his lawyer, Joel Turney of Manhattan, could be reached for comment on Saturday.
In a statement issued Saturday, Dinkins, who was mayor from 1990 to 1993, said he had been driving his ailing wife to the hospital that day, June 30, and didn’t realize he’d been involved in a crash until a bystander told him so a half-block later.
An NYPD spokeswoman, Sgt. Jessica McRorie, said Saturday evening that an accident report says that an officer found the bicyclist lying on the ground with “minor injuries,” and that Dinkins remained at the scene. No charges were filed.
But in his statement Saturday describing the events surrounding the incident, Dinkins — a Democrat and the only black man to hold the office — said he had continued to the hospital after someone told him about the collision.
“I was not aware of any contact between the bicycle and my car at the time it may have occurred,” Dinkins said in the statement. “When I became aware of the incident, I not only returned to the scene, I also participated in the making of the police department accident report.”
In the statement, Dinkins said the events had been set into motion when driving “my bride Joyce to her doctor because she wasn’t feeling well,” he said of his wife of 63 years.
The doctor said she should go to the emergency room at nearby NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, and Dinkins drove her there, he said.
Soon thereafter, “a man came up to my car window and told me that my car had been hit by a bicycle,” according to the statement. Dinkins said he would continue to drive his wife to the hospital and return “once I got her to the ER.” He said he then returned to the crash scene, but no one was there.
Dinkins, a lawyer and former Marine, also said he “fully cooperated with the officers from the NYPD who interviewed me at the hospital.”
“I take my responsibilities as a driver in New York City very seriously and would never do anything to violate the law,” Dinkins continued in his statement.