Two dead after pickup truck hits downtown Manhattan

Two people were killed and at least nine others were injured after a pickup truck plowed into a crowd of people celebrating July 4 at a park on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, authorities said. Police said they suspected alcohol was a factor.

Several injured people were taken to hospitals, two of them in critical condition, authorities said at a news conference Thursday evening. A police spokesman confirmed by telephone that one person had been arrested.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said at the news conference that while the investigation was preliminary, the incident did not appear to be terrorist-related. Officers who responded to the scene smelled alcohol on the driver and police conducted tests to confirm that, officials said.

According to police, just before 9 p.m., a Ford F-150 was speeding eastbound on Water Street. It ran a stop sign, mounted the sidewalk and drove into Corlears Hook Park, where a large group of people were celebrating the holiday.

“You have a tragic incident like this that really impacts family members who were just here, celebrating and barbecuing in a park,” Mayor Adams said. During the press conference, fireworks could be heard in the background, sometimes drowning out the officials.

Shi Jackson, 39, who lives near the crash site, said several groups were barbecuing in the park when she saw the truck speeding along the sidewalk.

“You hear everybody screaming, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop, slow down.’ And he didn’t stop. He couldn’t stop,” said Mrs. Jackson, who was grilling across the street. “I remember seeing little children on stretchers.”

She said some of the victims, including children under 10, were part of a close-knit community living on the block, many of whom were enjoying the party with music playing in the background. They shared burgers, water and napkins between groups, as the community often does, she said.

Candi Roman, 52, said she saw a man lying motionless on the ground and a child screaming and running away with blood running down his face. Ms. Roman, who lives nearby, said she had come to barbecue with a friend.

“People were screaming and there were people under the truck,” she said. “I’m traumatized by everything.”

New York City Police Chief Jeffrey B. Maddrey said at the news conference that two of the injured died upon arrival at the hospital.

“We believe alcohol played a role in this, but we are still investigating,” said Chief Maddrey.

Of the injured, two are in critical condition and three have serious injuries, New York City Fire Department Chief Michael V. Meyers said at the news conference.

Firefighters arrived on the scene within four minutes, he said, where they found “a pickup truck on top of four victims.” They used airbags and jacks to lift the truck off them, he said. Chief Meyers did not describe the nature of their injuries.

There were up to 200 people in the park, Chief Meyers said. The crash occurred about a half hour before New York City’s main Fourth of July fireworks celebration was set to kick off over the Hudson River, on the other side of Manhattan.

Among those injured were a mother and her two young children, who were taken to hospital, police said.

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