Wrong-way crash in Midtown Manhattan injures 9, including police officer

Janice Yu Image
Monday, January 1, 2024
Driver leads police into frenzied chase in Midtown
Darla Miles has the story.

MIDTOWN (WABC) -- An out-of-control driver allegedly fleeing an early morning dispute struck seven pedestrians and injured a police officer before crashing on a Midtown sidewalk.

The 44-year-old suspect was in a dispute with another man on Seventh Avenue and West 33rd Street when officers arrived just after 1:30 a.m. New Year's Day.

Police attempted to intervene, and the suspect drove off in a black Mercedes the wrong way, heading north on Seventh Avenue.

He turned westbound on West 34th Street, driving for several blocks, before jumping the sidewalk and crashing into a restaurant just before Ninth Avenue.

Surveillance video showed the suspect's car smash into the outdoor dining shed at Chirp Peruvian Kitchen owned by Boris Torres.

"The car went in here. As you can see, it hit the restaurant next to me too," Torres said. "He realized he couldn't pass by, so he backed up, went by where the garage is and hit another car there and got stuck."

During the blocks-long reckless driving spree, the suspect struck a 39-year-old woman, pinning her under a food cart.

Six other civilians were also struck. They were all were taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.

NYPD officers eventually converged on the car and arrested the driver.

"I swear it looked like a hundred cops converged on it. They pushed us back. Cars were smashed up," witness Johnathan Dobbs said.

The driver is in critical but stable condition at Bellevue Hospital, where charges are pending.

One police officer was struck as the suspect fled the initial dispute. He was taken to NYU Langone stable condition. Two other police officers were treated at scene, but are not being counted among the injured.

West 34th Street between 9th and 8th Avenues remains closed. That closure backed up traffic as revelers were still out and wrapping up their New Year's Eve festivities.

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