Truck used in Manhattan ramming attack
Truck used in Manhattan ramming attack Reuters

A pair of haredi yeshiva students were shocked to discover recently that the terrorist responsible for Tuesday's deadly vehicular attack in New York City was the Lyft driver who had driven them to Lakewood a week before.

According to a report in the New York Daily News, terrorist Sayfullo Saipov had driven yeshiva students Eli and Avrumi Grynhaus to Lakewood from New Jersey's Newark Airport after they returned from a vacation in Miami Beach on October 19.

The brothers were stunned to find out that they had shared a ride with a terrorist. “I freaked out,” Eli Grynhaus said. “I was actually in a Lyft with this guy? The fact that he killed eight people yesterday is just a frightening thought.”

Gyrnhaus told the New York Daily News that they made small talk during the drive and that Saipov revealed that he drove for both ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft. While the driver was friendly, Grynhaus admitted to getting scared when Saipov got lost.

"When we got to Lakewood, he took us down a back street,” Grynhaus said. “I asked him why he was going down there. I was starting to get nervous. It was a bad area. He said he made a mistake.”

“I didn’t get the warmest feel from him. I could see there was hate,” Grynhaus added.

Authorities say that Saipov was likely in the midst of planning his attack when he drove the Gyrnhaus brothers to Lakewood. Police believe that Saipov planned the attack for weeks and even made several dry runs before slamming his rented Home Depot truck into a group of cyclists in lower Manhattan on Thursday.

“It appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks. He did this in the name of ISIS,” said John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Saipov was guided by ISIS throughout his preparations for the attack and police found a note written in Arabic praising the ISIS terrorist organization inside the truck used by Saipov to commit the ramming attack.

The note read: "ISIS lives forever."

At least one knife was also found inside the Home Depot rental truck.

"He appears to have followed, almost exactly to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to its followers on how to carry out such an attack,” Miller said.