While Harleen Grewel burned in the passenger seat of a destroyed Infiniti on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, early morning traffic inched through the single lane not engulfed in flames.
A driver honked long and loud while passing the wreck of metal and flesh obscured in fire.
“Shutdowns to come,” a passing reporter advised on Twitter at 4:10 a.m. on Friday. Several other drivers shot videos.
The man who had crashed the Infiniti into a concrete barrier minutes earlier, 23-year-old Ahmad Saeed, managed to escape the wreck, police say.
They say he stood in the expressway while Grewel, 25, burned – and he hailed a cab and left.
Video obtained by WABC-TV shows a man, shirt still tucked in, walking across a dashed white line to a yellow taxi crawling past the inferno.
“Can I get a ride?” the man in the video asks.
Yes, he could. The door opened and the man stepped in to the cab, which WABC said took him to a hospital to be treated for burns, where police found and arrested him.
Ahmad could not be reached for comment. He was charged with speeding; driving without a license; leaving the scene of an accident; manslaughter; and the criminally negligent homicide of his passenger.
After Ahmad left the wreck, police say, firefighters arrived and put out the flames. They found Grewel’s corpse in the passenger seat. Her relatives in their grief made no comments to local reporters.
There is no indication in the police report that Ahmad was intoxicated, and no mention of what – if anything – he might have done to help his passenger before he hailed the cab.
The New York Daily News called him “heartless,” but also spoke to his brother, who said Ahmad burned himself trying to pull Grewel out.
“He couldn’t,” Waheed Ahmad said. “It was too late for her.”
Investigators gathered around Grewel’s body when the flames were out, and the morning traffic jam on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway grew very long.0