NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Charges were issued Thursday against two suspects who police say were arrested for a hit-and-run involving an officer in Times Square.
Arfhy Santos, 20, and William Lopez, 24, were walked out of the Midtown South Precinct Thursday in handcuffs. They were waiting to be arraigned late Thursday night.
“You have the wrong driver,” Santos said.
Investigators say it was Santos who was behind the wheel of a black Mercedes during the incident Saturday night, hitting a police officer who was trying to stop him.
“The operator of the vehicle intentionally struck the police officer,” NYPD Chief William Aubry said Wednesday.
Police arrested Santos and Lopez — who was allegedly his passenger — Wednesday afternoon at an apartment building in Harlem, but not before police say the duo tried jumping out of a window to get away. Police said Lopez is the owner of the car.
Russ Stevenson lives in the building.
“Gotta watch it, you never know what’s going on,” he told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.
“There was a black truck out there, and he was in the back seat handcuffed. It was somebody handcuffed in the back seat,” another neighbor said.
Authorities have recovered the black Mercedes they were searching for.
“We knew exactly what it was. It had body damage to it. We have a search warrant to process the car. Another male dropped that off, not these two males on that street, so we have to go back on video and see if we can ID him as well,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
Both men face charges of reckless endangerment, but Santos is also facing charges of attempted murder and assault.
It was around 11:30 p.m. Saturday that the 26-year-old officer, who was caught on video, saw the car speeding with its wheels smoking.
“No one could have predicted what that driver of that car would do,” said Aubry.
The officer got in front of the vehicle attempting to stop it, but police say he was hit as the driver peeled off. The officer continued the pursuit on foot, but the suspects got away.
Investigators say one of the suspects was already wanted for pulling a similar stunt with that same black Mercedes the night before.
“Friday at 2 o’clock in the morning, he was in Upper Manhattan and he did the same exact thing with the same vehicle on a sidewalk when a police officer saw him and there were pedestrians out there,” Aubry said. “He recklessly drove on the sidewalk.”
The chief credited the officer in the case for following his instincts.
“I give him a lot of credit,” Aubry said. “He’s a courageous officer.”
Police say they men were part of a car club in the Bronx and said both have multiple prior arrests. They also say there may have been another person in the car the night of the Times Square incident.
As for the officer involved, he continues to recover but has not returned to work.