MERRICK, Long Island (WABC) --A suspect who police said stole a Freeport police SUV was taken into custody after he crashed into several parked cars in Merrick.
Police say not only was this suspect somehow able to get his hand cuffed hands in front of him, he was also able to squeeze through a roughly 12 by 12 inch hole in the partition between the front and back seats, before speeding off and smashing into several cars.
"It was a sliding Plexiglas partition and nobody ever thought that an individual could squeeze through an 11.5 by 12 and a quarter square hole," said Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, Nassau County Police.
The partition is supposed to separate suspects secured in the back seat from access to the wheel.
Police say Andrew Howard, at 5'9", 155 pounds, is not only a very violent man, but also very slender.
"This is a very nimble and very agile individual. He was able to take his hands from behind his back, place them down low and was able to get is knees and feet behind the handcuffs which now his hands in front of him," Det. Lt. LeBrun said.
Then police say he shimmied through the hole and sped off with the police SUV, sending cops on a wild chase.
Eventually, he crashed into four parked cars several miles away on a dead end street in Merrick.
"He was going, the cop said about 70 mph down Babylon Road and then at the end of our block we actually have a divot so he went airborne, lost control, which got him into the second car," said Lori Belbol, an eyewitness.
A red Mitsubishi took a direct hit from the runaway SUV, and a Buick was flattened.
"It looked like an accordion. The entire side was smashed and had pieces of a neighbor's tree in it," Belbol said.
"His car was here, and it ended up all the way down there," said Bonnie Morrissey, an eyewitness.
The 36-year-old Brooklyn man had been pulled over by Freeport Police around 10 p.m. Thursday on an outstanding warrant for robbery.
Neighbors say police cornered him almost immediately.
"The one cop pulled his gun out and he's like yelling at the guy, 'Don't get out.' He had a gun out and my wife wanted to come out, and I told my wife, 'Get down, the guys got a gun,'" said Skip Zalud, an eyewitness.
Police say suspects have slipped through partitions before in other places, but this is the first time in Nassau County.
"It was a very, very swift and clean maneuver to get through that partition," Det. Lt. LeBrun said.
It's yet to be determined if any officers will be facing disciplinary action.
There is dash cam video from the inside of the vehicle showing the escape, but police are not releasing it.
Howard was taken into custody. He was charged with grand larceny 2nd degree, two counts of robbery 3rd degree, reckless endangerment 1st degree, criminal possession of a weapon 3rd degree, escape 2nd degree, resisting arrest, unlawful fleeing of a police officer 3rd degree, and false personation.
His two passengers were placed under arrest at the original location after a knife was found in the Caravan. Dawnfornee Ellison, 39, and Yasmeen N. Ellison, 41, were charged with criminal possession of a weapon 3rd degree.