The car hit 46 year-old Capt. Steven Quirindongo so violently it smashed the vehicle’s windshield and sent him flying through the air. Quirindongo, a 19-year veteran of the city’s emergency medical services, was on the scene of a fire on Riverdale Avenue in the Bronx Sunday afternoon when a civilian car moved past police barricades and caught him from behind. Chief Wayne McPartland was on the scene as the damaged health food store where his men had successfully put out the flames.
“We had two firefighter minor injuries, ” he told us, “and they were taking care of our men and when he (Quirindongo) was walking back to the ambulance he was struck by the civilian vehicle. Everyone’s attention was apparently focused on the fire scene, but witnesses tell us some cars were moving past the partially blocked roadway and continuing north on Riverdale Avenue driving on the wrong side of the street. Capt. Quirindongo was walking from the scene diagonally across the street to a parked ambulance when the Volkswagen CTI with Connecticut plates simply ran into him. Surveillance cameras at a Sunoco station on the street caught the impact.
The image from 4:04 PM shows a man in bright yellow clothing walking into the left frame of the screen just beyond the station’s gas pumps. The car practically pops into view sending him flying, perhaps fifteen feet as firefighters and other mergency medical technicians run to his aid.
Alfred Medina owns the exercise studio next to the fire scene. “It was unbelievable,” he said “EMS, emergency medical echnicians to get hit by a car. Ironic.”
Jose Puentes works at the Sunoco station he says he heard a firefighter yelling to the driver to stop and turned around just in time to see the impact. He told us he to get up, complained that his back hurt, then laid back down as of embers of the FDNY rushed to his aid.
The driver, 40 year-old Jay Friedenberg of Greenwich, Connecticut was charged with failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and driving on the wrong side of the street. Capt. Steven Quirindongo was listed in serious condition last night at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.