What to Know
- Three people had minor injuries after they were hit by a van in a crosswalk near Penn Station on Friday evening.
- Police said the driver told them his gas pedal got stuck on a floor mat, causing his van to lurch from a stop through the intersection.
- The driver was issued a traffic summons in the incident that shut down roads around the nation's busiest rail station for more than an hour.
A van hit and wounded three people crossing a street near Penn Station in what police officials say appears to be a freak accident where the driver's gas pedal got caught on a floor mat.
Police said that the red conversion van was stopped at a light on Seventh Avenue at West 32nd Street when it began to roll through the crosswalk at about 5:30 p.m. Two women and a man were hit by the van, which continued going until it came to a stop near West 31st Street.
"The video shows he was a complete stop for two seconds, and then the van kind of just rolls through the intersection," said NYPD Inspector Matt Hyland.
Witnesses told News 4 that the good Samaritans rushed to help the pedestrians, who were talking and conscious. The three pedestrians were taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries.
Police said the driver, who was later seen in handcuffs as police talked with him, was shaken up after the crash and said that his gas pedal had gotten stuck on the floor mat. Officials said the gas pedal was still stuck to the floor mat.
"(The driver's) first statement to police on the scene was that the floormat got stuck on the accelerator," Hyland said.
He added, "he was shaken up."
The driver, 68, was released from police custody Friday night with a traffic summons. There was no indication he had been drinking beforehand, officials said.
Commuters and pedestrians around the scene described hearing screams after the the impact steps from the nation's busiest railroad station.
"My heart....I'm still trying to breathe right now," said Shadara Rush, a witness who was badly shaken up by the accident.
She added, "Some people jumped back, some jumped forward and some ran out of the way. It was scary."
Roadways around the busy transit hub were blocked off by fire and police vehicles for nearly an hour.
The NYPD's highway unit is investigating, but no criminality is suspected in the case.