A 20-year-old man driving a stolen SUV mowed down at least 10 pedestrians, including two children, in Midtown Manhattan during rush hour Tuesday, according to police. Upon wrecking his stolen ride, the suspect took off on foot, but New Yorkers ensured he wouldn’t get far.
According to the NYPD, the suspect, who does not have a New York State driver’s license and was described as “white or Hispanic,” was driving a 2018 Hyundai Tucson with Illinois plates that had been reported stolen from the Bronx on July 31.
A license plate reader alerted police to the vehicle’s presence at 45th Street and 2nd Avenue around 5:30 p.m.
Officers began following the vehicle while attempting to verify it had in fact been stolen. Having determined the report was accurate, police attempted to pull the vehicle over at 43rd Street and 3rd Avenue amid heavy traffic.
Although the driver initially motioned to comply, he quickly altered course, hit the gas, and attempted to evade the officers, striking a bicyclist, said police.
Patrol Borough Manhattan South Deputy Chief James Kehoe told reporters that officers remained in pursuit, but did so “at a lower rate of speed because of the heavy traffic.”
After hitting a yellow taxi, the suspect pulled onto the sidewalk, where he plowed through several pedestrians near Grand Central Station.
“It was crazy, it was horrific,” Michael Discioarro, a witness to the mayhem, told the New York Post.
Discioarro indicated one “victim on the ground was seriously injured. A lot of blood.”
“Another victim was laid up against the door of a store. She was clearly hurt,” said Discioarro. “Her leg was twisted in a way you shouldn’t twist a leg.”
The Daily Mail reported that one witness saw a victim go “flying through the air” after being struck.
At a crowded 42nd Avenue intersection, the suspect made a U-turn, hitting additional victims, then sped down Lexington Avenue going the wrong way.
The vehicular component of the chase came to an end when the suspect barreled into a black 2011 Toyota RAV-4.
Although his stolen ride was immobilized, the suspect carried on, making a mad dash through the nearby crowd. However, bystanders intervened, pinning him until police could arrive.
Video obtained by the Post shows multiple Good Samaritans tackling the suspect to the ground, then holding him down while he kicked and flailed.
“When the cops showed up, the guy they took into custody was trying to fight with the cops — trying to push the cops away,” said Discioarro.
While police got their man, a female suspect who had been with him managed to get away and remains on the loose, according to authorities.
Kehoe indicated, “Upon initial review of this incident, it does not appear to have any connection to terrorist activity.”
Among the 10 victims taken to Bellevue Hospital, all of whom survived with non-life-threatening injuries, were a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old. The eldest victim is 72.
The suspect reportedly is known to police, with several previous arrests including two on gun charges and others for drug crimes.
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