NEW YORK — A car rocketing down an avenue in Manhattan’s dense East Village swerved out of control, plowed down a sidewalk, and smashed through a storefront flower stand Wednesday, injuring eight people, witnesses and officials said.
A 60-year-old grocery store worker was critically hurt in the 6:30 a.m. crash, which left half a city block in shambles.
Police arrested the driver, Shaun Martin, who they said was driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
Investigators were trying to determine how fast the car was moving, but one witness who saw the wreck unfold said he saw two vehicles racing down Second Avenue at a frightening speed.
“They were swerving around cars. When the white car swerved right, it lost control,” said Dr. Alvaro Alban.
The vehicle, a rented Nissan Altima, smashed through everything on the sidewalk, including a 25-foot tree, a phone booth, parked bicycles, a parking kiosk, and a street sign.
Several people were hospitalized, including three workers at the grocery store. One cyclist in the city’s new bike-share program was hit by a flying fire hydrant, police said.
Police said Martin, 32, of Queens, has faced charges before for drug possession and drunken driving.