Stunned residents in a Manhattan neighborhood say a driver in an SUV managed to flee police after crashing into a police car and other parked cars, slamming into a taxi cab and hurtling onto the sidewalk.
Cellphone video taken by a neighbor captured the wild ride on Henshaw Street in Inwood Monday. Panicked bystanders watch and scream as the driver backs down the street and slams into a police car that had been pursuing the vehicle.
“We thought it was a movie,” said the man who filmed the rampage, who asked only to be identified as Manny. “A straight up movie scene.”
Police said the chase began in the area of Broadway and 173rd Street in Washington Heights, when officers tried to stop a 2003 Land Rover after it made an illegal right turn onto Wadsworth. The SUV fled, heading into Inwood and going the wrong way down Henshaw Street, which is a one-way street.
Video shows the SUV pausing briefly after crashing into the NYPD patrol car, and officers run to the vehicle and begin smashing the windows. They pull their guns out, demanding the driver stop and get out.
But the driver instead takes off again, crashing headfirst into a taxi. The SUV reverses wildly down the street, taking out parts of several parked cars along the way. The driver then takes off yet again, speeding up the street and smashing more cars along the way.
Bystanders on the street scream “Shoot him!” to the officers, the video shows.
“He’s putting lives in danger, bro,” Manny could be heard in the video saying to an officer running past him.
He later shouts at another officer, “Did you really let him get away from you?”
The officer responds in the video, “We don’t shoot people out here, bro. You know how that works.”
“You could have shot the tires,” Manny says.
“That’s only in movies, bro. You shoot a tire, that bullet pops back up,” says the officer.
Witnesses gather in shock after the SUV speeds away.
“Did they get the plates? They can’t go that far, the car, the way it is,” one woman says in the video.
“They had the guns in his face and he still kept going,” Manny told the woman.
Orlando Fernandez was one of the owners of the damaged cars. He said Tuesday he was angry after finding his new SUV, with only 200 miles, smashed. It’s now in the shop.
“He didn’t care, he had no regard or remorse for anyone,” Manny told NBC 4 New York Tuesday. “He almost killed that cab driver. He just kept going.”
After fleeing Henshaw Street, the driver ditched the SUV and ran away on foot, according to police. Officers found him near Riverside Drive and 177th Street and arrested him on a slew of charges, including reckless endangerment, aggravated unlicensed operation, leaving the scene of an accident, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
The 35-year-old driver is from Hamilton Heights, police say.
Police said there was at least one other person in the car, but it’s not clear if they’re facing charges.