Driver who allegedly hit 10 people in Midtown appears in court

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, August 3, 2023
Driver charged in Midtown crash that injured 10 due in court
The driver who crashed into 10 people in Midtown is due in court on Thursday.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The driver accused of plowing a stolen SUV into 10 people near Grand Central Terminal was arraigned on Thursday.

Kyle Fernandez, 20, is being held on $50,000 cash bail after turning Midtown into a demolition derby on Tuesday.

He faces several charges including reckless endangerment, and driving without a license while on drugs.

Officials say 10 people were taken to Bellevue Hospital for injures after Fernandez drove the vehicle through E. 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

New Yorkers jumped into action and grabbed the suspect as he allegedly tried to run away and held him down with police close behind.

The 20-year-old suspect who is accused of speeding down a busy Midtown street and injuring 10 pedestrians was walked out of the police precinct on Wednedsay night.

The victims, ages six to 72, were taken to Bellevue Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The vehicle, a 2018 maroon Hyundai Tucson with Illinois plates, was reported stolen from the Bronx last month, police said. Officers say they followed the vehicle while attempting to verify if it was the same one stolen.

When they put their lights on, they say Fernandez refused to pull over.

During the pursuit, the stolen car hit a bicyclist, then a taxicab before jumping the curb and hitting pedestrians. Police say Fernandez then made a U-turn in the middle of the busy intersection and went the wrong way up Lexington Avenue.

It all came to an end when the driver collided head-on with a black Toyota. In total, three vehicles were damaged.

According to police data, the top speed reached during their pursuit was 19 mph. It came to an end when the driver collided head-on into a black Toyota.

"The most severe being an ankle fracture to a young lady, the others were just minor abrasions and neck and back pain," Deputy Chief Mario Thompkins said.

Fernandez is facing charges of reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident, fleeing from an officer, criminal possession of stolen property, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, no license, failure to obey and officer and driving a motor vehicle across a sidewalk.

A female passenger fled the scene, authorities said. They are still looking for her.

Overall, car thefts were up 13% throughout the city compared to April of 2022.

NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said the department is cracking down on car thefts, ghost cars and other crimes -- and as a result the number of car chases is up.

"We made a pledge, no more, you are not going to drive around this city in a reckless manner thinking you can do whatever you want to do with your attitude, that you can commit crimes at that rate," Chell said.

Former NYPD Chief of Detectives and ABC News contributor Robert Boyce said it's all part of the fine line that police have to walk between stopping an offender and making a bad situation more dangerous.

"If you're in Manhattan at around 5:30 at night, that's a dangerous situation," Boyce said. "This following closely when you're bring in other units-those other units are getting there quickly trying to intercept. So that creates other issues as well."

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