Mercedes-Benz SUV slams into woman, produce market in Astoria; suspect in custody

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Car slams into woman, produce market in Queens; suspect in custody
A man is in custody after a car jumped a curb and slammed into a woman, a produce market, and then a parked vehicle in Astoria, Queens then fled the scene. Sonia Rincon has the story.

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- A man is in custody after a car jumped a curb and slammed into a woman and a produce market in Astoria, then fled the scene.

Witnesses said the white Mercedes-Benz appeared to be trying to get away from unmarked law enforcement vehicles behind it at around 1:30 on Monday afternoon.

The driver was apprehended a short time later, after crashing into a parked vehicle more than a mile away in Woodside.

Law enforcement sources told Eyewitness News that the New York Division of the DEA was assisting New York State Police in an ongoing drug and weapons investigation.

Surveillance video from the United Brothers Fruit Market shows the Mercedes-Benz speeding along the sidewalk on 33rd Street as it approaches 30th Avenue. One woman can be seen running out of the way as the vehicle plows into the side of the store. The same vehicle can then be seen hitting another woman on the sidewalk at the corner of 30th Avenue, then fleeing, leaving her on the ground.

Store manager Ahmad Faid ran out to help the injured woman, whom he recognized as a regular customer. He called 911, and said he got a glimpse of the fleeing vehicle and saw more cars in pursuit.

"I see under cover cars chasing him. Two, three cars," he said. "They flew up the block. But the guy was going mad fast."

Workers from a nearby urgent care center helped the injured woman before an ambulance arrived.

"She was conscious, that's a good thing, she was responding to me well," urgent care worker Augustin Lardet said.

The victim is expected to recover.

On Monday night, workers were putting up plywood at the 24-hour produce store after cleaning up the trail of debris.

The United Brothers Fruit Market has been in Astoria for 50 years.

Tom Kourkomelis is one of the founding brothers.

"What I saw today was really something I never saw in my life," he said. "I see the car right in front of me pass like 90 miles per hour."

The staff at United Brothers expressed concern for their customer, saying the damage could be repaired. They wondered who the driver was, why he would be so reckless toward pedestrians.

"He really caused a lot of damage, but is it's not the problem. (Striking) The lady is the problem," manager Faid said.

Law enforcement agents took the driver into custody at the scene of the crash in Woodside at 31st Avenue and 57th Street.

Sources told Eyewitness News they were able to recover two weapons and an unspecified quantity of fentanyl pills from inside his vehicle.

Charges are pending for the suspect in what's described as an ongoing investigation.


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