What to Know
A driver has been arrested after plowing into a family outside a 7-Eleven store in Rockland County, killing a 32-year-old woman
Six of the victims were a baby and children; they're expected to be OK
Police said the driver intentionally rammed into the family after some sort of argument; he had to be Tased and arrested at gunpoint
A driver angry after a dispute in front of a 7-Eleven store plowed into a family that included six children outside the store in Rockland County Wednesday, killing a woman, before he was arrested at gunpoint by police, officials said.
Police said the driver intentionally drove into the group of eight people in front of the 7-Eleven at 75 Central Highway in Garnerville just before 2 p.m., then backed over them, smashing into the front of the store.
When officers arrived, the driver, identified as 35-year-old Jason Mendez of Washingtonville, New York, refused to drop a knife he was holding; police had to Tase him and arrest him at gunpoint, officials said at a news conference.
A 32-year-old woman died from her injuries at the hospital. A 35-year-old man was taken to Westchester Medical Center, along with a 2-year-old child, and both have serious but non-life threatening injuries. The other victims, children ranging in age from less than a year old to 10 years old, were taken to Montefiore Nyack Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.
Mendez was arraigned late Wednesday night on charges of second-degree murder and seven counts of second-degree attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A mangled baby stroller lay on the ground in front of the smashed-in storefront as police investigated. Witnesses said they saw a woman lying on the ground immediately after the crash, and she looked severely injured.
Witness Cindy Schnalzer told News 4 New York, "The baby was was crying, and there was like an 11-year-old girl that came out, and she was with her father out here, and the father was going ballistic wanting to know where the guy was."
"I heard the father, he was telling the cops, 'I told him not to blow smoke in front of my kids,'" she said.
Police said an argument led to the driver ramming into the victims, but haven't confirmed that the dispute was over smoking.
Mendez's attorney said in court his client just lost cellphone repair job a week ago. Mendez himself said nothing to reporters as he was led from a police car and into the courthouse in handcuffs.