Acclaimed CBS journalist Bob Simon was not wearing a seat belt in the backseat of a Lincoln Town Car when it crashed into another vehicle Wednesday night in Manhattan, killing him, New York City police said Thursday.
Investigators are trying to obtain the Lincoln's black box, which captures the speed and orientation of the car when the air bag deploys, NYPD said. Getting it will require a subpoena, police said.
No criminality is suspected and no driving record issues have been found so far against the driver, a law enforcement official said.
The Lincoln was going south on West Side Highway shortly before 6:45 p.m. when it crashed into a Mercedes-Benz stopped for a red light at West 30th Street, then careened into stanchions separating traffic, police said.
Simon, 73, who covered 35 wars and armed conflicts and was bestowed 25 Emmys, suffered torso and head injuries and was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The Lincoln driver, 44, had arm and leg injuries and was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was in stable condition Wednesday night, police said.
The Mercedes driver was not injured, NYPD said.
Simon had been preparing a "60 Minutes" report on the Ebola virus and the search for a cure for this Sunday's show, CBS said. He was working with his daughter, Tanya Simon, a "60 Minutes" producer with whom he collaborated several times, the network said.
"Bob Simon was a giant of broadcast journalism, and a dear friend to everyone in the CBS News family," CBS News President David Rhodes said.
Simon was a familiar, trusted face on CBS News as he reported for years from the Middle East on the fighting between the Israelis and their Arab neighbors.
Then a younger generation got to know him after Iraqi forces captured him in 1991 near the Saudi-Kuwaiti border as he covered the start of the Gulf War. He was beaten as he and other members of CBS News' team were held for 40 days in Iraqi prisons, an experience which became the subject of his 1992 book, "Forty Days."
Simon, who was born in the Bronx but spent part of his youth in Great Neck and graduated high school there, started at CBS News in 1967, becoming a foreign correspondent in 1969, based in London, Saigon and the Middle East.
Simon was a Fulbright scholar in France and a Woodrow Wilson scholar who also served as an American Foreign Service Officer.
He and his wife, Françoise, also have a grandchild -- daughter Tanya's son Jack. Simon told Newsday last year he was done covering foreign wars, "because I have a grandson now."
Asked by Newsday why he chose a career in battlefield reporting, Simon called it "A sort of pathology. A lot of it becomes an adrenaline addiction."
With Ellen Yan and Candice Ruud