Flying metal debris nearly strikes FOX 5 News crew in Manhattan

Early Thursday morning, FOX 5 NY photographer Tim Daughtry, reporter Raegan Medgie and photog Paul Barnathan prepared to go live for Good Day New York on the southeast corner of 78th Street and 2nd Avenue on the Upper East Side when a flatbed truck passing through the southbound intersection struck a pothole or a manhole cover or something, sending a piece of metal, apparently from the flatbed, skyward.

"I'm standing there getting ready for my hit," Medgie said. "I was the lead so after weather and traffic, it was probably 5:01, 5:02 a.m. Then I heard this loud bang."

"I hear this 'boom!'" Daughtry said.

"I have my IFB, my earpiece, in my ear and I'm hearing programming," Medgie said, "but then I hear my cameraman, Tim, start shouting."

"Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!" Daughtry said.

"And then I'm thinking: Is he messing around with me?" Medgie said.

"A piece of metal flying up hits the light [pole] with the wires that's holding the light," Daughtry said.

"And then I look up," Medgie said, "and I see what looked like a pancake thing coming at me."

Daughtry's shouted warning successfully moved Medgie and Barnathan out of the path the ricocheting piece of shrapnel followed after striking and leaving an inch-deep crater in the sidewalk.

"Thank God for that wire that it hit," Daughtry said, "because more likely my reporter and the cameraman would not be here today."  

"If I didn't listen to Tim and I didn't get out of the way, this would be a much different story," Medgie said.

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Medgie called 911 at 5:09 a.m.

"And I said: 'Hey, listen there's no injuries,'" she recalled. "And maybe that's one of the reasons why they didn't come because there was no one injured."

Medgie saw no officers arrive, so four hours and 38 minutes later she dialed 911 again.

"Within minutes they came," she said.

The NYPD told FOX 5 NY police responded to a 911 call of a vehicle driving recklessly at 78th Street and 2nd Avenue and marked the job "gone on arrival," later responding to Medgie's second call five hours later and recording an accident and complaint report for the truck leaving the scene of an accident.

Human nature likely dictates that close calls receive less attention and incite less change than do tragedies. Having video of this near-catastrophe and FOX 5's closeness to the characters involved brought it to our attention sooner than had we not known the near-victims. But as Medgie reminded us, the catapulted piece of steel on the Upper East Side Thursday morning threatened everyone and anyone in the vicinity of that busy block, in one of the world's great walking cities.

"God forbid it was during the day and there were people out here," Medgie said. "It's going to replay in my mind a lot."