A 17-year-old high school student who had been riding in a limousine with friends on prom night jumped off an overpass and fell onto a westbound lane of the Grand Central Parkway in Briarwood at around 2:15 a.m. last Thursday, police said.
Michael King of Mastic, L.I. was in critical condition at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica Tuesday with serious head trauma, said a hospital official.
According to William Wilson, the owner of the limousine company Here Comes the Bride, King and a group of other teenagers made several stops on Long Island after gathering near the Center Moriches High School junior prom early in the evening before heading into Manhattan.
During a bathroom stop on the way back from Manhattan, King got into an argument with his girlfriend, allegedly punched her in the mouth, then climbed on top of a six-foot overpass and jumped off as his friends inside the limo watched in horror, Wilson said. He fell about 30 feet onto the Grand Central Parkway.
Police said they were investigating to find out why King had jumped. Wilson said his company has a no alcohol policy and that the group had not been drinking in the limousine.
"Police from the 107th Precinct went through the car two, three times and found nothing in there," said Wilson from the Brooklyn office.
King's night began before 7 p.m. when limo driver Jerome Herold picked up him and five other teenagers to drive them to John Anthony's on the Water, a catering hall in Babylon, L.I. where the Center Moriches High School junior prom was being held, said Wilson.
King and a friend, who were dressed in casual attire, got out of the car to talk with a security guard at the catering hall, Wilson said. They were not let into the hall with the rest of the group and instead went to a nearby restaurant while waiting for their friends to come out of the prom. King's girlfriend had gone to the prom.
At around 10 p.m., King and his friend were rejoined by their friends and the group of teens was driven to Center Moriches, L.I., where they picked up more friends, Wilson said.
Wilson said King called him several times throughout the night to complain about minute problems.
"He found a Q-tip in the ashtray. I don't know why, but he was cursing the heck out of me over it," Wilson said. "I had to hang up on him because he was using such foul language."
Wilson said his driver told him King seemed agitated and was complaining throughout the night about not having any money.
"He told the driver he only had $30 for the whole night and to not take him anywhere too expensive," Wilson said. "When the driver told them there was going to be a $4 toll, he said 'That's it. The night's over. We're going home.'"
At around 2 a.m., after the group had been driven around Manhattan, Wilson said King asked his driver to pull over on the Grand Central Parkway so that he could relieve himself. The driver instead exited at Parson's Boulevard and drove up to the Kew Gardens Motor Inn, where he asked one of the clerks if the group could use the motel's bathroom.
After King allegedly struck his girlfriend, Wilson said the driver and one of King's friends attended to her. Another friend left the motel with King, who was headed toward the limousine.
The second friend later returned and said he had to call 911 because King had climbed on top of an overpass fence and jumped off, plunging onto the Grand Central Parkway, Wilson said.
"I wouldn't have any idea why he jumped because I couldn't be in his head," Wilson said.
Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.
©2003 Community News Group
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