Driver in crash that killed John Nash had only been a cabbie for 2 weeks, report says


http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2015/05/cab_driver_in_fatal_john_nash_crash_was_on_the_job.html#incart_river

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The taxi driver who lost control of his vehicle — causing the crash that killed famed mathematician John Nash Jr. and wife Alicia — had only been on the job for two weeks, the New York Post reports.

It quotes cab driver Tarek Girgis’s 19-year-old son, Kerolos Girgis, saying his father previously drove an ice cream truck and had just “started a new company.”

As reported by NJ Advance Media Sunday, State Police said the Nashes were in a taxi traveling southbound in the left lane of the New Jersey Turnpike when Tarek Girgis lost control of his Ford Crown Victoria as he tried to pass a Chrysler in the center lane. The cab crashed into a guard rail near Interchange 8A in Monroe Township, ejecting the Nashes.

The couple were not wearing seat belts, police have said.

The Chrysler also crashed into the guard rail, State Police have said. According to police, The driver of the New York registered Concorde, Lisa Farrell-Hoyte, 41, of Bronx, N.Y., was not injured. Her front seat passenger, Anastasia Reid, 69, also from the Bronx, was taken to Princeton Hospital for neck pain.

Girgis was extricated from the vehicle and flown to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. He was upgraded to good condition, a hospital spokesman told NJ Advance Media Monday.

The Post quoted the driver’s son saying his father had “many stitches” in both arms but hadn’t spoken yet about the crash, though the son say his father didn’t know he was driving the famous 86-year-old mathematician.

Nash was a renowned in his field but he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and spent time in institutions. His life story was told in the book and movie, “A Beautiful Mind.”

Nash and his wife were in good spirits in the last hours of their lives, said another leading mathematician who had just returned with the couple from Norway after receiving more accolades.

Louis Nirenberg, a professor emeritus at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, had just returned with his wife to the United States with the Nashes Saturday after the two mathematicians were awarded the Abel Prize in Mathematics by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

The couples’ travel arrangements had changed and they arrived hours before they were expected, Nirenberg said. He called his daughter to pick them up while the Nashes figured out how to get home.

In the meantime, they chatted about everyday things, Nirenberg said.

“They were in good spirits,” he said. “It was a wonderful week.”

The Abel Prize is awarded for outstanding scientific work in mathematics.

Nirenberg said his daughter arrived at Newark Airport to take them home. She gave the Nashes her mobile telephone to call the limousine service they had planned to take them home, he said. Since they were hours ahead of schedule, the Nashes decided to hail a cab at the airport, Nirenberg said.

Before they reached home, the cab crashed, fatally injuring both Nashes.

Nirenberg said his late colleague deserved the recognition he received in his field.

“He was genuine, a great mathematician,” he said. “Very deep and original. I met him in the 1950s and admired his work then. I have always admired it.”

Alicia Nash, Nirenberg added, was a “remarkable” woman who cared for Nash while he struggled with mental illness.

Nirenberg is also highly regarded in mathematics. According to NYU, Nirenberg received the National Medal of Science in 1995, and has been widely recognized for contributions to the modern theory of partial differential equations and related aspects of complex analysis and geometry — the basic mathematical tools of modern science.

The MIT Club of Princeton had planned a celebration of the Abel Prize award Wednesday night, but will instead conduct a tribute to the Nashes. Princeton officials said details of any University-affiliated memorials would be worked out in the next few days.

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