A black SUV slammed into two vehicles near Barclays Center in Brooklyn, jumping the curb and driving the wrong way down Fourth Avenue before fatally hitting a bicyclist Monday morning.
The fatal series of events started when the 37-year-old driver of the 2012 gray Honda Pilot, who later claimed to have limited memory of the accident, first hit a Toyota Camry livery cab stopped at a red light on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Dean Street at about 7 a.m., police said.
According to witnesses, the driver then rebounded or put the car in reverse, came to a complete stop and then hit the accelerator. He jumped the curb and sped off down Fourth Avenue towards Pacific Street where the traffic lights were blinking and police were directing vehicles.
“I see the guy driving against the traffic like crazy,” said Sam Dib, 44, who works at a coffee stand nearby. “The car was flying. The car was shaking left and right.”
Witnesses said the speeding SUV made its way to the Flatbush Avenue intersection where it hit a bicyclist, pushing him onto the hood of the car. Dib said the SUV then hit a second car and bounced off the fire hydrant as the cyclist was thrown.
Joseph Weaver, 41, was walking from the Atlantic Terminal to his job at a construction site on Fourth Avenue when the chaos erupted.
“I heard a bunk, I heard ‘oh my god, did you see that,'” Weaver said. “I saw the body go up in the air and then disappear.”
The accident happened so fast, Dib said. Abandoning his post at his coffee stand, he ran over to the intersection.
“The bike, it’s like parts. His face was to the floor, blood coming out from his head,” Dib said. “Some woman was saying, ‘help.'”
The driver of the SUV, whose name was not released, slowly climbed out of his car, according to video captured after the vehicle came to a final stop by the metal barriers in front of the train station.
“At that point I was feeling, you know when you feel like dizzyi” the driver told police in the video, as he sat on the ground slightly banged up. “After that I don’t remember until I hit the other guy and the other guy hit me.”
The driver then took out his wallet and fumbled for his identification, according to the video. A piece of the red bicycle was still lodged in the right, front wheel of the SUV.
Three operators and three passengers from all vehicles involved were taken to Methodist Hospital in stable condition.
By Monday afternoon, evidence of the fatal crash was still visible: all three cars remained where they landed, crushed. The cyclist’s body was carted off hours after he was thrown to the street. A fire hydrant lay on its side. Glass was strewn across the street and inside the livery cab, which still had a coffee cup in the front seat holder and the keys in the ignition.
Even hours later, many remained shaken.
“It’s not safe,” Dib said. “Even in a safe place, we’re not safe. Imagine he hit me.”