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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Six people were injured – one critically – when a car sped out of control and jumped a curb in the East Village on Wednesday.
The incident happened around 7 a.m. at Second Avenue and East Fourth Street, police said.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported Wednesday afternoon, Shaun Martin, 32, of Queens, was driving a rented white Nissan Altima. He lost control of the vehicle, jumped the curb and crashed into a bodega.
Witnesses said the offending driver might have been racing another car.
“All you saw was debris and stuff, and everything in the air, and the noise was like a hurricane,” said witness Melissa Schubnell.
The spectacular and tragic accident left the car a crumpled mess. Martin suffered a laceration to the head, while his female passenger suffered minor injuries.
“It’s awful,” said neighbor Patricia Adams. “I hope they lock him up and throw away the key — the guy was drunk.”
The out-of-control vehicle left debris and injuries for half a block, before it finally stopped and caught fire.
“I’ve never heard nothing like it, it was a big boom,” witness Willie Hankins said. “It was quite scary.”
“I heard like a loud explosion and glass shattering,” added witness Raymond Azzi.
The car took down everything in its path, including trees, a fire hydrant, light pole, flower stand and a row of delivery bicycles, 1010 WINS’ John Montone reported.
Three men were injured when the car hit the flower stand.
“I walked to the store to the flower guy — Ali, known him from the neighborhood — seriously injured, on the ground, not moving,” Azzi said.
Pratik Shah, owner of the flower shop, said the crash was a true horror.
“It was like a nightmare you don’t want to come true,” he said. “It was a very one-second tornado that came. That’s what it felt like.”
The hydrant was propelled or pushed a half a block.
“The fire hydrant struck a bike, the rear of the bike, and knocked the cyclist off the bike,” said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
When it was all over, the front-end of the vehicle was mangled beyond recognition and its bumper was on the sidewalk about half way down the next block, Montone reported.
“I saw a couple of people get hit,” one witness said. “I was just in shock.”
A 62-year-old man who was arranging flowers outside of the store was struck and is in extremely critical condition, reported 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. Conditions were reported as stable for the other two flower shop employees and the 37-year-old man on the Citi Bike.
“The older fellow that sells flowers was lying on the street face down,” witness Patricia Adams told CBS 2′s Janelle Burrell. “He wasn’t moving.”
Azzi took pictures of the driver.
“I believe he didn’t know what was going on; (he was) kind of confused,” Azzi said.
Police said once the driver was taken to Bellevue, a quantity of hashish was found in his sock.
“He’s been arrested for DWI,” Browne said. “He refused a Breathalyzer and may be under the influence of drugs.”
Witnesses said Martin was speeding.
Martin has one prior DWI arrest, Burrell reported.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
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