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Man Dies After MTA Bus Knocks Pole Down onto Him as He Walks Home from Wife's Birthday Party

Katie Campione
·2-min read

A man was killed in a freak accident in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday after an MTA bus crashed into a pole that then toppled onto him.

The bus was attempting to navigate around a "disabled vehicle" on the road when its side mirror struck the pole, knocking it down, a spokesperson for the New York Police Department told PEOPLE Tuesday.

The pole fell on top of 59-year-old Lance Margolin, who was walking on the sidewalk eastbound on Eastern Parkway near Utica Avenue, according to police.

Margolin sustained severe head trauma and bodily injuries. He was transported to NYC Health & Hospitals/Kings County, where he was pronounced dead on Saturday, police said.

Margolin was walking home from a birthday party with his wife, Karen Balestire, and friends at the time, ABC7 reports.

"It was a freak accident," Margolin's friend Joanne, told the local station. "All of a sudden, we heard a bang, so my friend grabbed me and held me until, and then looked, and then I said 'Oh my God, not Karen,' because it was right by where her and Lance were standing. So I ran over, and it was Lance on the floor, and the pole was on top of him. My friend Steven picked up the pole, he lifted the pole, I don't know how, but he lifted the pole, and I was screaming for somebody to help him."

Balestire said that the pole "just missed me and hit him," adding, "I was right next to him."

She told ABC7 that the family is having a hard time processing his death, and they are instead trying to focus on how he lived.

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"He was a great guy," she said. "He'd give the shirt off his back. He was just the greatest. He was so humble. He gave to everybody, even if he didn't have, he gave."

No other injuries were reported from the incident. The NYPD's Highway District's Collision Investigation Squad is still investigating.

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"This is a tragedy for all involved," MTA Bus Company President Craig Cipriani tells PEOPLE in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the victim's family as they deal with a terrible loss. We are fully cooperating with the NYPD's investigation, and the bus operator has been withheld from passenger service pending a thorough internal review."