New York Daily News

Illegal cabbie held in death

- BY ESHA RAY, JOHN ANNESE AND THOMAS TRACY

An illegal cab driver who blew through a red light, killing a 40-year-old motorcycli­st in Washington Heights, was charged with criminally negligent homicide, police said Thursday.

Ayman Zarik, heading downtown in his Lincoln Town Car on Fort Washington Ave., sped through the light at W. 178th St. about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to cops.

Manuel Hernandez was zipping east on W. 178th St. on his Suzuki motorcycle when he collided with Zarik in the intersecti­on. Medics rushed Hernandez to Harlem Hospital, where he died.

“The light was for him,” Hernandez’s shell-shocked stepfather Luis Cruz told the Daily News.

Relatives believe Hernandez was returning home from visiting his daughter in Queens when he crashed just a a few blocks from his home (photo, r.).

Zarik, 53, stayed at the scene but police took him into custody after learning his Town Car wasn’t properly registered or insured — and that he was using the vehicle to illegally pick up fares.

Cops also learned the cab’s New Jersey license plates belonged to another car, sources said.

“He had improper plates, no insurance,” the victim’s stepdad raged. “How the hell is he picking up people? That doesn’t make any sense.”

Cruz said Hernandez, who had an 11-year-old son and two infant daughters, was just approved for a mortgage to buy his dream home in New Jersey, relatives said.

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