An 83-year-old nun was killed and four other people were injured today when a car full of suspected robbers struck a group of pedestrians while fleeing police, the NYDP said.
“It had to be going about seventy, eighty miles an hour when it hit them,” witness Wayne Harris told NBCNewYork. “It just sounded like an explosion.”
The incident happened after three armed men allegedly committed a robbery on Lenox Avenue between W 122 and 123 St. around 9:20 a.m., police said. The robbery victim was able to give police a description of the vehicle that fled the scene.
While canvassing the area, police stopped a blue Chrysler fitting the vehicle’s description.
Police removed the driver from the car, but one of the remaining two men inside the vehicle “jumped into the driver’s seat and fled the location,” heading south, according to the police report.
The suspects’ car ran a red light, crashed into a tan Honda minivan headed east on 122 St., not one block from the original robbery. It then spun out of control and struck three pedestrians in the crosswalk.
The three were rushed to Harlem Hospital, where one, eighty-four-year-old Sister Mary Celine Graham of the Franciscan Handmaids of Mary, was pronounced dead on arrival.
Another of the pedestrians is in critical condition; the other is stable. The two riders in the minivan were also removed to Harlem Hospital and are in stable condition.
“The passenger of the blue car [the suspects’ car] got out and immediately fled eastbound on 122nd street,” said an eyewitness who asked to be identified as Eric. The driver was slower at getting out but escaped as well. “By that time the unmarked police cars had pulled up to the scene and subsequently started chasing the guys.”
“The blue car…spun around and wiped out the people—the older ladies in the median,” Eric told NBCNewYork. “The force of the impact caused them to go on the other side, into the northbound lane of Lenox Avenue.”
Investigation into the robbery and car crash are ongoing, police confirm.