Video Shows Police Chase Preceded Horrific Crash on Staten Island
A recidivist reckless driver turned his SUV into a weapon of destruction in a high-speed crash at a notorious Staten Island intersection early Thursday morning — and a video shows a police chase preceded the crash, which rendered two homes uninhabitable.
According to a video reviewed by Streetsblog, the driver of a massive Jeep was speeding downhill on St. Pauls Avenue during a rainstorm at around 3:30 a.m. when he hit a patch of runoff that residents of the neighborhood are long familiar with. When the driver hit the water, he skidded, rotating a full 360 degrees, before striking the front of two houses at the confluence of St. Pauls and Van Duzer Street.
Seconds after the crash, a police car, with its lights flashing, arrived on the scene, according to the video, which suggests that the police were chasing the driver, whose car has been nabbed for four camera-issued speeding tickets and two red-light tickets since March 26, 2019, city records show.
“He was doing 65 miles per hour coming down St. Pauls,” a neighbor told Streetsblog. “He hits the water and skids and bounces off the house. It sounded like an explosion.” Seconds later, police arrived. The video suggests that the cops were chasing the driver. (The NYPD did not have information yet; Streetsblog will update this story.)
The neighbor said he saw cops holding the man on the ground in handcuffs. Both houses had to be evacuated and the Department of Buildings issued vacate orders for both, the neighbor said.
“The kids were screaming and crying,” the neighbor said, mentioning that other houses on the block have been hit in similar fashion before. Stop signs at the intersection “have been taken out five times in the last seven years,” the neighbor added.
Here’s what the intersection normally looks like:
Van Duzer Street is a known danger zone in the North Shore of the Rock because drivers use it to cut through the residential neighborhood to avoid traffic on area arterials.
On just the 15-block residential stretch from Van Duzer’s northern intersection with St. Pauls, and the southern intersection where the crash occurred, there have been 246 reported crashes since January, 2014, injuring five cyclists, 11 pedestrians and 55 motorists.
“And that’s just the start of it,” the neighbor said. “There are a lot of crashes where a car hits a pole, the car gets towed away and there’s never a report.”
Police on Staten Island have not been responding to no-injury crashes since 2019.