NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police on Tuesday were asking the public to help them find a driver who was caught on video striking a pedestrian in Astoria, Queens.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, around 4:05 a.m. this past Saturday, the motorist was driving a white sedan and went up on the sidewalk while heading west on 30th Avenue, police said.
The driver struck the victim — identified as Mohammed Salim, 21 — at 45th Street, police said. The driver then sped off.
The impact was so fierce that Salim flipped over and landed near a lamp post across the street.
The victim had just left the Quays Pub, at 4502 30th Ave. in Queens, when he was hit. The bar’s surveillance camera provided the crucial videotape that police hope could help nab the driver.
Warning: Graphic Scenes
“If he didn’t take two steps that way, he’d be totally dead,” said Gerald Donnelly, who works at the Quays Pub.
Second after Salim was hit, four men walked quickly past him – seemingly running from the white car. The car jumped the curb and barreled down the sidewalk, never stopping even after striking Salim.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, people who saw it all happen said it was not an accident, but a malicious driver deliberately trying to harm someone.
Indeed, those who saw it happen said the driver looked like he was on a mission.
“He wanted to kill somebody. He was in a rage. And he hit the gas to speed up,” Donnelly said. You could see the guy that got hit — the lights get brighter. He doesn’t know which way to go. But then he decides to go that way, and the guy swerved as little, just enough to clip him. “
People living near the scene were shaken up by the heartless driver, whom nearly killed a young man and drove away.
“They no catch him yet? Horrible – my opinion, horrible,” said Dario Viscovich of Astoria.
“I’m glad that we got it, and the footage that they have will lead to the guy getting caught,” Donnelly added. “You know, so if you’re out there, it’s only a matter of time.”
Salim suffered a broken leg and a concussion, and was being treated at Elmhurst Hospital Center as of Tuesday night.
Police said it did not appear the victim knew the driver, and there is no indication why he may have been targeted.
Anyone with information was asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS, log onto the Crime Stoppers website, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.
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