NEW YORK (AP) _ Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., was injured Wednesday in a three-car crash while riding in a New York City taxicab, authorities said.

Pell, 73, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was taken to Cabrini Hospital for treatment of cuts to his forehead, temple and cheek. He received 60 to 70 stitches and was held overnight for observation, his spokesman, William Bryant, said.

''Winston Churchill got hit by a New York City taxicab, so I guess I'm in good company,'' Pell said in a brief telephone interview from his hospital bed.

Pell was alert and awake after the crash, and he called his wife, Nuala, from the hospital, Bryant said. He was expected to be released Thursday.

''He had a very bad laceration on his forehead, above the right eye. He also had a bad cut on his cheek and a possible concussion,'' said ambulance technician Peter Zaborowski, who treated Pell at the crash site.

Pell was in a taxicab on the F.D.R. Drive in Lower Manhattan, about a half- mile from City Hall, when three cars crashed, said Officer Andrew McInnis, a police spokesman.

''It was a bumper-to-bumper-to-bumper type of accident. Nothing too serious,'' McInnis said.

The cab driver was traveling at ''normal speed, but he didn't stop in time for car in front of him,'' Pell said.

Pell smashed his head against the metal frame supporting a plexiglass partition behind the driver, Zaborowski said.

''I have this damage because there was no seatbelt in the backseat,'' Pell said, adding that he lost one lens from his eyeglasses.

Cabrini Hospital's chief surgeon treated Pell in the emergency room. The hospital's plastic surgeon also was called in, Zaborowski said.

The senator was in Manhattan visiting his mother-in-law and was on his way to an airport to return to Rhode Island when the accident happened, Bryant said.

One of the wealthiest members of the Senate, Pell drives a battered and often dirty white Dodge convertible with a small silver pelican hood ornament.

The slender, gray-haired patrician is widely described as gentlemanly, polite and incorruptible, with a propensity for wearing threadbare family hand-me-downs. He is known as a somewhat offbeat character, with an interest in paranormal phenomena and extrasensory perception.