Taxi Driver Sits Dead in Cab for 18 Hours on Busy Manhattan Street

August 15, 2017 Updated: August 16, 2017

A taxi driver died inside of his cab, on Aug. 8, and sat there for 18 hours before his body was discovered. Fifty-nine-year-old Mehari Bokrezion parked his cab at a popular cabbie break spot in downtown Manhattan, adjacent to a basketball court. He dozed off and never woke up. Passersby may have thought he was sleeping, as his body remained upright, as The New York Times reported.

Bokrezion, an Eritrean immigrant, worked as a taxi driver with Susan Maintenance Corp. since 1991. He lived in the West Village. He often showed up to the taxi garage hours before work to chat with friends. The depot is located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, having moved there from its earlier home in Manhattan.

His wife and brother called the taxi dispatcher after he didn’t come home that night. They didn’t realize he was dead in his car by then, parked just a half-mile from home. The dispatcher found it strange that he didn’t move his cab for almost the whole day, after checking GPS records. A passerby also called the police around the time his wife and brother were on their way to the location the dispatcher gave her.

Two more people called the police. EMS arrived and broke the window to his locked vehicle. The company dispatcher, Franklin Lambert, also arrived. The wife broke down in tears.

“Even myself, seeing her, seeing her around the cab, it was so painful,” said Lambert to The New York Times. “Such a painful thing to witness.”

Bokrezion was later found to have died from cardiovascular illness.

SOHO lower Manhattan location where cab driver died. (Image via Google Maps)
SoHo Lower Manhattan location where cab driver died. (Image via Google Maps)

The Daily News reported in 1999 of a man who died on the No. 1 train and sat there for five hours as the train continued on its journey. He had a heart attack during his morning commute. He rode the train along with thousands of rush hour commuters before a passenger noticed something wasn’t right. The dead man rode the train back and forth a number of times, from the No. 1 train’s starting point in the lowest part of Manhattan to its last stop in the north Bronx.

He was also found sitting upright. His head was leaning forward and his eyes were closed. Deaths like these go unnoticed due to the sheer crowds of people and prevalence of sleepy commuters.

“I see people passed out and I don’t even think about it. But I wouldn’t expect anybody to come onto the train to die,” said No. 1 train commuter Mario Licari, to the Daily News. “Do you know how many people sleep on the train during morning rush?”