3 people killed as suspected drunk driver ploughs into NYC park during Fourth of July celebrations


Saturday, July 06, 2024 - At least three people were killed and six others were injured when a suspected drunk driver crashed into a Manhattan Park Thursday night during the July 4th celebrations, authorities said.

Two of the victims have been identified as 59-year-old Lucille Pinkney and 38-year-old Hernan Pinkney, who lived nearby. The third victim's name has not been released.

The crash happened just before 9 p.m. Thursday, July 4, on the Lower East Side, according to the New York City Police Department.

In a late-night news conference, NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said the driver of a Ford F-150 pickup truck was speeding down Water Street, then ran through a stop sign at the intersection of Water and Cherry Streets, drove up onto the sidewalk and crashed into Corlears Hook Park.

Nine people were struck, including four who became trapped under the vehicle.

Two people were pronounced dead Thursday and a third died overnight. At least one person remains hospitalized in critical condition.

"I just thought they were putting up lights to have light for their barbecue, because it was so bright, and it was a truck going into the gate," said witness Shantay Bracey, who has lived in the neighbourhood for more than a decade.

"I went running and screaming over here to see what happened after, and it was a melee, it was crazy."

Maddrey said police are still working to determine the ages of the victims, but at least two children were taken to an area hospital.

Neighbors set up a memorial at the scene early Friday morning, July 5, leaving candles to honor the victims.

Authorities said it does not appear the incident was terrorism-related, but they believe alcohol may have been a factor.

"A driver drove into a crowd of people who were actually just celebrating, like so many New Yorkers and Americans are doing right now," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.

"Responding officers who did arrive on the scene did smell some alcohol, but we are still in the process of doing testing," said Maddrey.

The New York City Fire Department said crews arrived on the scene within three-and-a-half minutes and lifted the vehicle off the victims.

The driver, whose name was not released, was taken into custody with the help of good Samaritans at the scene.

"We believe, initially, that there were people who were there at the scene who grabbed the driver, removed the driver and made sure the driver didn't leave until first responders made it to the scene," Maddrey said.

No charges have been filed yet.

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