Police searching for North Carolina man after car plows through dining shed
A manhunt is underway for the driver who fled several traffic stops and crashed through an outdoor dining shed before sending an NYPD officer to the hospital.
Detectives said Thursday they are searching for a 56-year-old North Carolina man in connection to the wild scene on Wednesday night.
Video on Thursday showed the suspect arguing with another man before asking an employee of the business to use the bathroom.
The man then left through the back door and that’s when it all unfolded.
The driver was initially pulled over for improperly changing lanes on West 39th Street and 7th Avenue. Officers also noticed the Cadillac sedan had temporary Michigan license plates.
During the stop, the driver produced fraudulent motor vehicle documents, and when police asked him to step out of the vehicle for further discussion, he instead sped off.
He seemingly did not care who or what was in his way.
The driver fled the traffic stop, and in exclusive video obtained by Eyewitness News, you can see the car take out a fire hydrant on Park Avenue.
The Cadillac then missed a woman with a walker by mere inches.
“The car kept speeding down the street. I was crossing from this side to that side. The car, I had the light. His wheel hit me down here and the bumper came flying off,” said Jan Baldin, the woman in the video.
The black Cadillac was then located on Madison Avenue and E. 30th Street, and officers once again tried to stop the vehicle.
When the driver fled the scene, he struck an officer and drove through an outdoor dining structure.
The owner of the restaurant said he was about to sit a group of customers at the dining structure just moments before the car came barreling through.
“Twenty-five minutes eight girls wanted wanted to sit there, I said sit in the back in the back garden,” owner Volkan Muti said.
Muti opened the restaurant 14 years ago and as warmer weather approaches he said he is thinking of next steps now that the $20,000 outdoor dining structure is out of commission.
Gustavo Marquez captured video of the crash and shared it on Instagram. Moments before Marquez started recording, witnesses say the suspect was ramming into officers, driving forward and then in reverse.
The vehicle fled for a third time and collided with another vehicle. The driver then abandoned the vehicle, ran away and escaped.
The officer suffered an injury to the head and was rushed to Bellevue Hospital. He received six stitches to the head and was released.
There have been no arrests, and the investigation is ongoing.