Couple in city street walking

My Christian Witness – Car Accident

It was a Saturday (Dec. 17th or 18th before Christmas 1983), when my girlfriend and I decided to take the train into NYC for some Christmas shopping. I was not saved and in the throes of lust.

As we were walking in Manhattan, we stopped in St. Patrick’s Cathedral because my girlfriend wanted to light a candle and pray. She was not saved either, but she wanted to pray. We prayed and started to walk the streets, when we came upon Cartier Jewelers.

There were many people walking the streets and the display had Cabbage Patch Dolls with jewelry on them. Many people gathered around the display, interrupting the flow of many people walking the sidewalk. As both my girlfriend and I stopped to look at the display, I heard a loud roar of an engine accelerating.

A car had jumped the curb and was plowing people down on the sidewalk. It came right at us, and I thought it was curtains for my girlfriend and me. I thought we were going to be plowed into Cartier Jewelers and severed in half. But, the car, at the last moment, decided to go parallel to Cartier. About a foot separated the car from the building.

44 people were hurt. I don’t think anybody died. But a girl with red-orange boots in front of me lost her eye (EMTs were pressing on her eye socket). There was a lot of confusion and hurt people.

I got separated from my girlfriend. She told me later that I shoved her away from the car, at the last moment. Apparently, the bow wave of people pushed her aside and she landed on a concrete tree support. I got carried on the hood of the car another 10 yards away from her. I was thrown off the hood of the car, when the car stopped.

I landed on the sidewalk with my leather boober jacket protecting me from scrapes on the elbows. My toes on the left foot were dislocated and I had a gash on my left shin that was bleeding. My girlfriend hurt her back I found out later. I became very stressed. I thought my girlfriend was dead.

Three different NYC policemen were very helpful and kind in reuniting me with my girlfriend. She said somebody found her purse, thrown in door hallway, with all her money stolen.

We were eventually taken to Metropolitan Hospital where I was given stitches to close the wound in my shin. The doctor said I would have fractured the shin bone, if I wasn’t in such good physical shape. He, also, put my dislocated toes back in place. My girlfriend hurt her back but not too badly.

An elderly man had both his legs fractured. My father drove to the city to pick us up. The stress from the accident triggered dormant Lyme Disease to emerge. It took me quite a while to get it correctly diagnosed.

About that time, my new brother-in-law (my sister remarried) heard my story. He then sponsored me to go on Walk to Emmaus (a spiritual renewal weekend like Tres Dias and Cursillo). It was there that a man me in Eph. about the grace of God. It took me a few more years before I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I have backslidden but now am back in the Lord.

Notes: After the accident, my girlfriend at the time, Linda Zacharias, and I were interviewed by a local TV station (WABC or WNBC). The TV interviewer had orange curly hair if my memory is correct.

I also think my high school basketball coach saw the interview on TV. His name is Donald Bevelander and taught math at Ward Melville High School, Setauket, NY (Long Island). I think he is retired now and last I knew he lived in Eastport (LI), NY. Linda worked for Merrill Lynch in NYC at the time.

In Christ, Jay McGranahan


  1. dane 10/3/2009
  2. Joel George 12/28/2010
  3. Emory 12/25/2021
    • Jay MCGranahan 4/8/2022
      • Emory 4/8/2022

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