SOUTH OGDEN -- Suzi Nicholson loved New York City so much she wanted to share it with her 11-year-old grandson, Gabriel Larsen.
The pair had planned a weeklong stay, taking in the sights, including New York Yankee games, said her husband, Dewey Nicholson. "My wife loved to go to New York," he said Saturday.
But trip was cut tragically short when the New York City cab they were in was struck by a garbage truck on the Long Island Freeway early Saturday morning. Suzi Nicholson died in the crash; Gabriel was critically injured.
Police said the taxi cab driver lost control during a downpour on the highway about 12:30 a.m. The cab rear-ended a grey Porsche, causing the cab to flip toward the right shoulder before landing on the driver's side of the vehicle.
A garbage truck was unable to stop and hit the back of the cab, spinning it to face oncoming traffic, police said.
The taxi driver also died. The other two drivers were not injured.
"We're in shock for sure," Nicholson said of his family's reaction to the death of his 60-year-old wife.
He said he received a call about 1 a.m. Saturday from New York City authorities.
With tears in his eyes, and choked with emotion, Nicholson said rescue workers using the jaws of life to get the three occupants out of the cab found Suzi lying on top of Gabe to protect him.
Nicholson requested friends of the family pray for his grandson's recovery.
The boy was hospitalized with a broken pelvis, broken ribs, a punctured lung and a concussion. He is the son of the Nicholsons' daughter, Jaime Larsen, and her husband, Dean. The family lives in Uintah, and Gabe attends H. Guy Child Elementary School in South Ogden.
Three members of the Nicholson family flew to New York on Saturday.
"I'll feel a lot better when my other kids are in New York," Dewey Nicholson said.
Suzi liked to travel, and New York City was a place she had frequented on several occasions.
She and Gabe were to meet her longtime friend, Ilene Hacker, 59, and her grandson, Mason, 11, both of St. George, who had arrived in New York earlier.
The grandmothers were treating the boys to a trip to the city for winning a school competition called "Give Me Liberty," Hacker said.
"(Nicholson) and I were best friends since the ninth grade," Hacker said. "She just wanted to come and bring her grandson that's 11 and my grandson.
"We planned this trip and it's going to be the most awesome thing on the face of the earth. Everything was going to be fun. We were going to be the coolest grandmothers."
Nicholson said Suzi and Gabe flew to New York about 5 p.m. Friday. He received a text from her at 10:30 p.m. reading "terrible flight, but we're here."
That was the last he heard from his wife, Nicholson said.
It was no surprise that Suzi wanted to share New York City with her grandson.
"That was her whole life, her grandkids," Nicholson said of his wife, the mother of three and grandmother of seven.
Suzi Nicholson posted an entry Thursday on her Facebook page: "I am so excited for our trip. I can hardly stand it!!!!"
Also on the page is an entry noting that Gabe placed second in the Weber School District's Math and Science Olympiad.
Suzi Nicholson was active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was currently serving in the Highlands Ward Young Women's Presidency, said Ashley Steel, her daughter.
"It's a shock. Dewey and Suzi are a special, special couple. She was a loving, kind, sweet woman," said Robb Alexander, a former LDS bishop and family friend.
"We're close. As close as you can be," said Alexander, who has known the family for more than 20 years.
Suzi worked at Weber State University as a department secretary in the geosciences department, Alexander said.
Their church family will rally around the grieving Nicholson family, Alexander said.
"We're a great rallying-around ward. It truly is a ward family."
Suzi, originally from the St. George area, met Dewey while attending Utah State University. The Nicholson family has lived in South Ogden for nearly 36 years.
Peggy Dow Whitesides and Nicholson were in the same LDS stake.
Whitesides said she heard about Nicholson's death during a ward cleanup Saturday morning.
"I have known Suzi for many years; our children played on the same soccer teams. I only want to express my love for her. She has always been so kind to me, and I love her so much, as well as Dewey, her husband, and their three children.
"Our family is going through a huge trial, and Suzi commented to me on Facebook that she was praying for our family," Whitesides said.
"Now I will pray for hers."
Information from the New York Daily News is included in this article.