Italian honeymooners among seven struck by a driver in Midtown New York

Imani Lucas faces multiple charges after car incidents in Queens and Midtown, leaving an Italian couple critically injured.

In a tragic turn of events in Midtown New York on Sunday night, seven individuals, including an Italian couple on their honeymoon, were struck by a car whose driver sped through a red light. The couple, Giulia Gardani and Matteo Maj were wrapping up their U.S. tour, having visited both Chicago and Boston prior to their New York stop.

The suspect, identified as Imani Lucas, 29, didn’t halt after the initial incident. She continued her drive, heading to Queens via the Midtown Tunnel. Once in Queens, she collided with two other vehicles near the Horace Harding Expressway and 188th St., about 11 miles from the initial scene. By early Monday, authorities had already zeroed in on her based on the car description and license plate details. Interestingly, despite the chaos, Lucas tested negative for alcohol, according to the Daily News.

The New York Post cites Lucas’s mother, who mentioned her daughter was undergoing a mental health episode at the time of the event. Following her apprehension, Lucas faced a slew of charges, including seven counts of attempted murder, assault, and reckless driving.

Gardani, a 34-year-old tennis instructor, and her spouse Maj, a graphic designer aged 51, were promptly taken to Bellevue Hospital. Maj confronted grave injuries, necessitating facial trauma surgery, with subsequent operations planned for her tibia and fibula injuries. Gardani’s condition was critical upon hospital admission, with a five-hour procedure conducted to address a cervical vertebrae injury.

The underlying reasons for this horrifying incident remain uncertain. It’s essential to underscore that all charges are mere allegations at this point, and Lucas is considered innocent until proven otherwise in a judicial setting.

Regrettably, such incidents aren’t isolated. Last year, a Mexican tourist met a similar fate, losing a leg in a Midtown Manhattan accident. Drawing a darker parallel, in 2017, Lower Manhattan witnessed a deliberate vehicular attack on mostly Hispanic tourists. The culprit, Sayfullo Saipov, an extremist, received a hefty penalty of 10 life sentences and an added 260 years for his heinous act.

Despite Mayor Eric Adams’ best efforts, such traffic-related incidents pose a persistent challenge. This is even in the face of “Vision Zero,” a 2014 initiative by then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, envisioning a city with no traffic-related fatalities by 2024. Contrary to its goal, NYPD data reveals a staggering 325% rise in cyclist fatalities since Vision Zero’s inception. Many of these accidents involve hit-and-run drivers.

The city’s administration continues to stress that they have no patience for impaired or reckless driving, emphasizing their stringent stance against intoxicated driving.