Car smashes into Bedford-Stuyvesant storefront, 4 injured

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Police are searching for the driver involved in a chain-reaction crash in Brooklyn Thursday morning that sent a car plowing into a coffee shop.

At least four people were hurt, including a customer inside the cafe on the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Clifton Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Witnesses say a black sedan sideswiped a silver Challenger just before it jumped the curb at about 8:30 a.m. and slammed into The Civil Service Cafe. The driver of the sedan sped off before police arrived.

The sheer force of the impact followed by the sound of shattered glass and falling bricks brought people running from every direction to the scene of the crash.

"The car just came from nowhere...went straight inside the coffee shop and people," said a witness. "The woman was screaming, the one who went under the car, and the guy was sitting right in front."

We spoke by phone with a witness who says she was driving behind the Challenger just before the accident occurred. She says the sedan suddenly veered and sideswiped the Challenger, forcing the driver to lose control and jump the curb.

"This wasn't just the one car, there was two cars involved," she said. "There's cameras everywhere, so if they don't find his plate and car at that intersection there will be another camera that picks it up."

In the melee, a 32-year-old woman inside the coffee shop became pinned under the car. She suffered a collapsed lung and broken leg while a 40-year-old man sitting outside the coffee shop suffered neck and back injuries.

The driver of the Challenger injured his arm while another passerby had only minor injures.

Throughout the afternoon, accident investigators collected evidence as engineers with the Department of Buildings surveyed the extensive damage left behind and evaluated the structural integrity of the building.

All utilities have been shut off to the building.

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