ISLANDIA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A high speed race and chase turned into an incredible crash on the Long Island Expressway on Thursday morning.
A driver allegedly tried to ditch a police officer at speeds of more than 140 mph, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
Police said just after midnight two drivers were street racing on the LIE, spotted the police and zoomed off the highway at exit 58. But they lost control and the result was a nasty accident. A Dodge Neon slammed into a gas pump at Gulf station. Surveillance video shows two people get out of one car and run as the gas pump explodes.
Ilkay Kilinc was working the counter Thursday morning when the car slammed into the gas pump.
“Car starting fire – that’s two seconds to get out of the car,” Kilinc told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey. “One more second, maybe death.”
The other car, with a driver and a passenger, crashed to a halt in a Hooters parking lot across the road. Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department chief Michael Sharkey said his officer tagged the cars doing 145 mph. Every one, he said, got out alive.
“The others escaped without any serious injury. Any small change in circumstance could have resulted in a total disaster,” Chief Sharkey said.
The driver of the yellow Mitsubishi Lancer that stopped at Hooters was 21-year-old Jeff Browne. The driver of the car that crashed and started the fire was 20-year-old Joseph Skalka. He was held on $75,000 cash bail. His angry family and friends stormed out of the courtroom.
There were five friends involved in the scary incident, but only one minor injury – a concussion.
Court observers said even though no one was seriously hurt and there was no alcohol involved, the judge set a relatively high bail to send a message.
“It was all just bad decisions, bad decision-making,” Chief Sharkey said.
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