MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — A driver accused of injuring an NYPD officer while trying to flee a traffic stop in Manhattan was initially pulled over for allegedly having a fake license plate, police said.
The incident began when the driver fled a traffic stop at West 38th Street and Seventh Avenue around 4:50 p.m., according to the NYPD.
The driver was stopped again by police at East 30th Street, between Madison and Park avenues. However, the driver suddenly reversed and sped away during the traffic stop, hitting an officer in the process, per the NYPD. The police officer suffered a head injury and was hospitalized in stable condition.
Alfredo Mota recorded the entire ordeal that unfolded during the Wednesday evening rush hour, after getting out of the path of destruction.
“I had a feeling he wasn’t going to stop, like the way he was trying to stop, so I got out in case I don’t get hurt, and left the car in the middle of the street,” said Mota at the scene.
The driver plowed into Mota’s car and other vehicles before driving straight through an outdoor dining structure of a wine bar on East 30th Street, police said.
“I heard a large rumble, similar to a tornado coming through. About 10 seconds later, that’s when I saw the car just plow through next to the front of the restaurant,” said bartender Patrick Beverly.
Beverly said no one was sitting in the dining shed when the vehicle plowed through it.
After hitting the dining shed, the driver sped down East 30th Street, narrowly missing several pedestrians, authorities said. The driver ditched the vehicle at East 30th Street and Lexington Avenue and fled on foot, according to police. It triggered a massive police search in the area, but officers were unable to find the suspect.
A livery cab driver told PIX11 News he can’t work right now after the suspect damaged his vehicle during the incident. And his wasn’t the only vehicle on the street left damaged. Another car was pushed onto the sidewalk during the incident with its back tire knocked off.
The officer who suffered a head injury has since been treated and released from the hospital, police said. Another police officer suffered bruising to his hip and arms during the incident.
The suspect hasn’t been arrested as of Thursday evening.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).