By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police arrested 25-year-old Ilir Kuka for crashing a taxi into a minivan in front of Stuyvesant Town, injuring the mini-van’s driver. Kuka was not a cabbie, but allegedly drove off in the cab he’d been riding in after getting into an argument with the driver, only to go in the wrong direction, causing the accident.
The driver said he’d picked Kuka up in his taxi last Tuesday on Third Avenue between East 10th and 11th Streets around 10:30 p.m. Not long after the driver picked him up, they began to argue, and both men got out of the car. When the driver got out, he left the keys in the ignition and Kuka then allegedly got into the cab and drove away.
The driver said that Kuka drove north on Third Avenue towards East 14th Street, allegedly hitting a woman’s car on the passenger’s side just south of East 14th, causing a large dent. The woman said that he continued driving and she saw him turn right from Third Avenue onto East 15th Street, traveling in the wrong direction on the road.
Police said that Kuka then crashed head on into a minivan at First Avenue and East 15th Street, causing significant damage to the vehicles and causing the airbags to deploy in both. The victim told police that Kuka had been driving the wrong way on First Avenue.
When police responded to the scene, Kuka was allegedly intoxicated, with a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and an unsteady gait. He allegedly refused a breathalyzer and a blood test after he was taken to Bellevue Hospital.
The driver of the minivan sustained “multiple trauma” injuries from the crash, according to the FDNY, and was taken to Bellevue as well.
Kuka was charged with grand larceny auto, reckless endangerment, possession of a stolen car, an unclassified traffic infraction and impaired driving.
His Legal Aid attorney didn’t respond to a call requesting comment by deadline.