The livery cab driver in the Manhattan crash that killed longtime CBS News and "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon Wednesday night has had his license suspended more than half a dozen times, though all were cleared up prior to the deadly accident, police said Thursday.
Driver Reshad Abdul Fedahi, of Queens, also had two previous traffic convictions, though neither the reasons for those, nor the reasons for the license suspensions, were immediately clear.
Simon, who built a reputation as a "reporter's reporter" over a five-decade career covering everything from War to the movie "Selma," was in the back seat of the black Lincoln Town Car that lost control near West 30th Street and 12th Avenue on the West Side Highway and slammed into a Mercedes stopped at a red light. Simon's car careened into metal stanchions, trapping him and Fehadi inside.
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Firefighters had to cut the roof off the car to free the driver and the 73-year-old Simon was found unconscious in the back with injuries to his head and torso, police said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. Police said Simon had not been wearing a seat belt.
Fedahi had minor injuries, and the Mercedes Benz driver, identified as Zachary Miller of New Rochelle, had two broken legs and a broken right arm. Miller's driving record shows two previous traffic convictions and one prior accident, though the circumstances were not clear.
Both drivers were given Breathalyzer tests, and those tests showed neither man had been drinking, police said. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, and authorities hope a black box in Simon's car will lend insight into what happened. Speed and other factors are being considered.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley, his eyes red, announced Simon's death Wednesday night in a special report.
"We have some sad news from within our CBS News family," Pelley said. "Our colleague Bob Simon was killed this evening."
"Vietnam is where he first began covering warfare, and he gave his firsthand reporting from virtually every major battlefield around the world since," Pelley said.
Simon had worked for CBS News since 1967, beginning his career as a reporter and assignment editor, CBS said. He worked in the network's Tel Aviv bureau from 1977 to 1981 and in Washington as Department of State correspondent. He had been a regular correspondent on "60 Minutes" since 1996.
He also spent nearly three decades as a war reporter, covering nearly every major conflict following beginning with the Vietnam War. During the Gulf War in 1991, Simon and three other CBS News journalists were captured and held in Iraqi prisons for 40 days.
CBS News Vice President Chris Licht called Simon a "true legend," saying in a statement, "The tragic loss of Bob Simon is heartbreaking news for the entire CBS family."
Simon won 27 Emmy Awards and multiple Peabody honors for his reporting, CBS News. He was also the recipient of broadcast journalism's highest honor, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, for "Shame of Srebrenica," a "60 Minutes II" report on genocide during the Bosnian War.
Simon's most recent piece for "60 Minutes," a conversation with "Selma" director Ava DuVernay, aired this past weekend. His next piece, on the Ebola virus and the search for a cure, was set to air this weekend.
Simon lived in New York with his wife Francoise, according to a biography on the CBS News website. Their daughter Tanya is a producer for "60 Minutes."