MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) – Imani Lucas, the driver accused of hitting seven pedestrians with a car in New York City Sunday night, has been charged with attempted murder, police said.

Lucas, a 29-year-old resident of Belle Mead, New Jersey, allegedly drove through a red light at West 36th Street and Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan and plowed into a group of people just before midnight, police said.

Lucas allegedly told detectives she closed her eyes and said a prayer before driving into the pedestrians, sources said.

Lucas is charged with seven counts each of attempted murder, assault, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury, NYPD officials said.

A driver hit seven pedestrians in Midtown Manhattan on Aug. 20, 2023, police said.
A driver hit seven pedestrians in Midtown Manhattan on Aug. 20, 2023, police said.

The crash, which was captured on surveillance video, left some of the victims bleeding and unconscious on the sidewalk.

“I saw garbage bags and bodies,” said Martin Vartanian, an EMT and firefighter visiting New York City from California.

Vartanian said he did what he could to help the victims, who are all expected to survive their injuries, according to officials.

“I started triaging everybody and a nurse showed up. I asked her to call four ambulances. Then I got to the girl who was lying face down. I don’t want to describe what it was, but she was hurt and she was hurt very badly,” Vartanian said.

After the crash, Lucas allegedly fled the scene and made her way onto the Long Island Expressway. She then crashed into two other vehicles in Queens, police said.

Lucas was taken into custody and underwent a psychiatric evaluation at a hospital.

Gothamist reported that Lucas may have been suffering from a mental health episode, according to her family.

“Imani would never do anything intentionally to hurt anybody or anything,” Melissa Lucas, the suspect’s mother, told Gothamist. “Nothing like this has happened before.”

PIX11 News reporters Nicole Johnson and Kala Rama contributed to this report.