Car Plows Into Chelsea Store, 6 Hurt: FDNY

WNBC 4 - May 11, 2018

by NBC

A car slammed into a deli on a Manhattan corner Thursday evening, hitting five pedestrians, officials say.

Witnesses on social media say a yellow taxi and a livery cab collided at West 21st Street and Eighth Avenue, sending the livery cab into the grocery store on the corner. Police on the scene say they're investigating whether one of the drivers ran a red light.

Six people were injured in total, the FDNY said, three of them seriously. Among the five pedestrians injured were a 56-year-old mother and her 13-year-old son; a 62-year-old man; and a 41-year-old man. The 28-year-old livery cab driver was also injured.

Witness Fareed Williamson estimated the car hit the deli about 25 to 30 mph.

"My whole instinct was to run inside of the store," he said. "I [thought] I was going to die right there."

Video taken in the immediate aftermath of the crash shows the gray sedan smashed into the storefront amid shattered glass and a crumpled doorframe; a woman was seen pinned against the hood of the car as bystanders attended to and comforted her while waiting for emergency responders.

"We saw the lady on top, that's the thing -- very scary," witness Ahmed Abdelhafez told News 4.

Firefighters, EMS and police quickly swarmed the scene, roping off the corner as they worked to pull the smashed car out of the building and remove the woman.

Multiple witnesses say on Twitter the pinned woman was removed in a stretcher and gave a thumbs-up. Others were also seen being taken away in stretchers, some with blood on their heads.

Kendell Leon was among those injured. He was buying something at the deli and said there was no time to dodge the runaway car.

"I heard the smashing of the glass, and a car rammed through the front -- and I started to move back, and everything was just flying," said Leon.

Leon said he was "all right, just a little rattled."

Williamson said one of the other injured victims seemed to be in shock.

"Only thing he kept saying is, 'Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, I don't deserve this," Williamson said.

Neither driver was arrested but the investigation is ongoing. The FDNY was working to shore up the building so it doesn't collapse, and the city's Department of Buildings was also inspecting the damage.