Police arrested a man suspected of fleeing the scene of an accident in Brooklyn Friday and crashing into a residential building. Sixteen people were forced to leave their homes while investigators determined the best way to remove the car, officials said.
Ronald Breland was arrested Saturday on charges that included criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, authorities said.
Police said two vehicles were involved in a minor fender bender on Jefferson and Broadway in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Breland, who was driving a red SUV, took off when the other driver asked him to stay and wait to fill out an accident report with police.
Breland sped away -- with the other driver pursuing him -- and crashed into the building at 245 Marion St. at about 2:40 p.m., police said.
"When I was by my room, it was just a big loud noise," said resident Keanu Williams. "We had to climb through the window to get out."
The other driver got out of his car, dragged Breland from behind the wheel and began assaulting him, according to witnesses.
"I saw a fellow stomping another fellow," said Sherman Oakley, the owner of the building, who described hearing "squeaking wheels and bang, boom, bang" at the time of the crash.
"They started fighting," said neighbor Shakira Blandon.
Breland, 61, sustained minor injuries, police said. He was driving with a suspended license.
Firefighters evacuated the building as they determined the safest way to remove the car, officials said. Buildings investigators were also on the scene to assist firefighters with a structural assessment.
Sixteen people comprising eight families were ordered to vacate the building and are being assisted by Red Cross with temporary housing. It wasn't immediately clear when the victims would be able to return to their homes.
Oakley, whose grandchildren live inside the building, said bricks can be replaced but lives cannot.
"I'm counting my blessings," said Oakley. "None of my people got injured. It's just a building."