A prisoner briefly escaped police custody while being transported, triggering heavy police response downtown before he was caught a short time later, authorities said.
The unidentified suspect was being taken to central booking quarters in lower Manhattan on drug charges when he escaped from the police van on Hudson and Christopher Street, law enforcement sources said.
The handcuffed suspect bolted into the subway station at Christopher Street, causing service on the 1, 2 and 3 lines to be partially suspended for an hour as police searched for him.
"I saw a few helicopters going overhead," said Matt Bortz, who was near the scene as police officers responded in force. "Something was clearly going on."
The suspect was later located near the Gramercy Park Hotel at Lexington and 22nd Street. It wasn't immediately clear how he managed to travel there.
No further information was immediately available.