Car Careens Down Third

June 27, 2011 Heather Chin
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Bay Ridge residents ran out into the street on Monday, June 27,to prevent a driver from speeding away from the scene of a five-caraccident at Third Avenue and 88th Street.

The spontaneous display of solidarity happened just before 4p.m. when the female driver of a black SUV allegedly made anillegal reverse U-turn from her parking space on the northboundside of Third Avenue.

Witnesses said that the woman first hit the parked car in frontof her before going full speed in reverse, clipping a car carryingfour small children on the way to slamming rear first into twoparked cars on the opposite side of the street, pushing one of themonto the sidewalk and narrowly missing two adult sisters who doveout of the way at the last moment. One was injured when she hit thesidewalk and was treated at the scene.

I heard the bang as she hit the first car. Then she hit anothercar. Then she backed up into this car really, really fast and shetried to get away, but people started running after her and that’swhen she finally stopped, said Javona Bynum, who witnessed theaccident. People were standing actually in front of the car sothat she wouldn’t leave.

I’ve never seen anything like that. That was wild, added LizFagundo. The lady who was underneath the car, I hope she’s allright.

The Bay Ridge residents were indeed all right, walking away withsome bruises and scrapes from rolling out of the way. Paramedicsexamined the two sisters inside the children’s toy shopKaleidoscope, where they were pulled to safety.

My sister’s a little shaken and in a little bit of pain, saidone of the women while an emergency medical worker cleaned hersister’s elbow before applying an ice pack and wrapping gauzearound it. I heard the bang, saw [the car] coming and pushed mysister aside. We fell to the ground.

The owner of Kaleidoscope, Paul Trinidad, said that after seeingthe women fall down, he immediately went out and pulled the womeninside to safety. [The driver] did a skid turn, like in videogames, said Trinidad. She looked like she didn’t even care.

Pedestrians at the scene who chased the car said that one maneven backed his car across Third Avenue, blocking the woman’sescape route. Many witnesses added that the driver seemed unfazedby the accidents that left both ends of her SUV damaged aswell.

I ran over to her window and called 9-1-1 and she was in hercar, laughing and smiling and drinking like it was a Sunday drive,said Beth Ho, adding that the woman was sipping from what lookedlike a Styrofoam cup. The police were afraid it’d become a brawlbecause people were yelling at her. When they arrested her, peoplewere clapping.

Agent Wright, a traffic agent who was writing a summons acrossthe street, was nearly hit by the SUV and described the incident ashorrific.

I didn’t know what was going on. She hit the tan car first,reversed, hit the white car, then hit the ladies and tried to go,before other guys followed her, Wright said. They said she wastrying to get away from me.

After interrogation by police, the woman — who some witnessessay is a regular at local drinking establishments — was arrestedand transported to the 68th Precinct, where a Breathalyzer test isexpected to be administered. The owners of the four damaged carswere provided with accident reports by police on the scene, to givetheir insurance companies. But for at least one car owner, SamirSaleeby, whose white Lincoln Towncar was plowed into and pushedinto the toy store, the situation is going to be more complicated,since his tires are now flat and he has insurance, but not [for]collision.

I can’t understand how someone can do that, said resident JimMcCauley, who came upon the scene around an hour after it occurred.Thank God it wasn’t a few minutes earlier, when school let out.Can you imagine, all those kids here?

With additional reporting by Liam La Guerre.


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