CBS Reporter Bob Simon’s Driver Had ‘Dead Arm,’ 9 License Suspensions

Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

On Wednesday, the news world was shocked with the report that veteran CBS News journalist Bob Simon was killed in a violent car crash in New York City. But as more information emerges about the incident, it has been discovered that the driver of Simon’s car had a “dead arm,” multiple traffic violations, license suspensions, and yet was still certified to drive.

Wednesday evening, the town car in which Simon was a passenger hit another car, killing the reporter. Simon, 73, was not wearing a seat belt.

Investigators now say that the driver, Abdul Reshad Fedahi, 44, may have mistakenly hit the gas peddle when he meant to hit the brake.

“He hit the gas pedal instead of the brake. He sped up after hitting the car,” a law enforcement source told The New York Post on Thursday.

The source also noted that there were no skid marks near the accident scene.

During the accident, Simon suffered a broken neck, severe stomach and head trauma, and then suffered a heart attack as he was being transported to the hospital.

The driver, an immigrant from Afghanistan, suffered two broken legs and a broken arm. But he also seems to have had a history replete with the sort of problems that should have precluded his being a black-car driver.

Fedahi had his driver’s license suspended nine times for failing to pay fines and even had a physical disability that must have made handling the wheel more difficult.

The immigrant driver had what is being called a “dead arm,” an immovable arm suffered from a failed suicide attempt.

One of Fedahi’s acquaintances said of the driver’s arm, “He has a messed-up arm. One arm doesn’t move at all. He does everything with one arm.”

Despite the loss of the use of his arm, the mental troubles that led to a failed suicide attempt, and the long history of traffic fines, and license suspensions, Fedahi was given a clear medical certificate and had kept his job as a driver.

Simon joined CBS in 1967 and soon worked in Vietnam, the CBS Tel Aviv bureau, the Gulf War, as well as becoming a correspondent for 60 Minutes. He was a winner of 27 Emmy awards.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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