The beloved proprietor of a popular Queens Irish bar died in a tragic car accident early Saturday morning when the livery cab taking him home was involved in a collision with a wrong-way driver.
George Gibbons (37) was just blocks from his Maspeth bar, Gibbons Home, when the cab he was travelling in collided with a Chrysler Sebring on a one-way Long Island Expressway service road, sending him flying into the cab-drivers lap from the back seat.
“I heard the boom -- just boom, no tire [screeching],” a resident told the New York Post.
Witnesses saw two men running from the scene, but one later returned with a large gash on his forehead.
Both the cab driver and Gibbons were taken to Elmhurst hospital, where the bar-owner was pronounced dead on arrival.
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Gibbons' brother, NYPD Officer Brendan Gibbons said his brother always took taxis home from work, as he didn’t drive himself.
“He doesn’t drive, so he always takes these cabs. You’d think he’d be safer,” he told the New York Post.
He describes his sibling’s bar as his “pride and joy”.
The victim’s sister, Bernadette, paid tribute to her older brother saying he “always made everyone laugh” and “always had a smile on his face.”
The passenger of the Sebring, Andre McKanney (44), of Jamaica, Queens, who returned to the scene, was treated at Elmhurst hospital. He was charged with possession of marijuana.
The driver who fled the scene of the accident has still not been found. A spokesman from the NYPD told IrishCentral that the investigation is ongoing.
The New York Post reports that the car is registered to Brooklyn resident, Angela Kosoi, who said she lent it to her friend on Friday for a job interview.
“I had no idea someone died,” she said. “I lent it to them yesterday, and I thought nothing of it.
“I wish it was stolen. I wish it wasn’t my car.