riverside crash
A suspect is seen lying on the ground. Photo by James Key.

By Joy Bergmann

In a wild scene Tuesday evening, a black sedan being pursued by NYPD raced southbound along a paved path inside Riverside Park before crashing near the 72nd Street underpass shortly before 6pm.

Witnesses said two men appeared to be in the sedan. One managed to flee from the scene, while the other laid on the ground moaning about injuries. Over a dozen police vehicles from the 24th and 20th Precincts swarmed the area. NYPD would not comment on the status of the runaway suspect. The injured suspect was taken into custody and removed by ambulance.

after crash riverside
Bystanders talk to police near the site of the crash. Photo by Joy Bergmann.

James Key was sitting on a bench along the Hudson Riverfront when he heard engines gunning, then sirens, and turned to see the pursuit, estimating speeds of 60 mph, running parallel to the West Side Highway, “They must’ve been wanted for something serious. They wouldn’t do this kind of chase otherwise,” he said.

Onlookers asked a uniformed 24th Precinct officer why the sedan was chased. He replied, “Drugs.”

suspect riverside crash
A suspect is taken away on a Gurney. Photo by Joy Bergmann.

At the time of the incident, the park was filled with more than the usual crowd of dog-walkers, bicyclists and afterschool playing. West Side Montessori School hosted a family party with well over 200 parents and kids just 50 yards from the crash site.

picnic near crash
This picnic was going on near the site of the crash. Photo by Joy Bergmann.

A clown performed for the kids at the picnic. The site of the crash is on the left side of the picture. Photo by Joy Bergmann.

Update: The Daily News reports that the man who was taken into custody was the passenger in the vehicle — he was detained but had yet to be charged. The driver was still on the loose.

The News reports that the chase started after the men blew a red light near 101st street. The suspects drove onto the Henry Hudson Parkway as they eluded police, before swerving onto a pedestrian pathway in the park.

We have reached out to NYPD for more information. NYPD said that no pedestrians were injured during the chase.

NEWS | 40 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      I was in Riverside Park in 90’s and 100’s. No car chases.

    2. Tom says:

      At least he listened to his mother and wore clean underwear!

    3. cc says:

      Crime is clearly on the rise in the city…..De Blasio is doing a lousy job…

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        i guess facts don’t matter to you. Last year, overall serious crime was the lowest level ever in NYC… and this year it is actually DOWN from last year. Murders in particular are down 11% from last year.

        But i guess it feels better to vent.

        • zeus says:

          How about the not so “serious” crimes Mr. Bruce?
          You always sound as if we are two steps away from heaven.
          NYC is in bad shape.
          More homeless people than in the last twenty years.
          Some sidewalks are taken over by beggers and street vendors.
          The overall feeling is of bad times replacing the better times.
          Yet you always come up with your statistics.
          Guess what Bruce – statistics never makes people feel better.

          • Edie C. says:

            Oh I call bull, you people complained about the same stuff during Bloomberg, just stop. Homeless people aren’t a crime last I checked. Street vendors? Really? “Old man yells at cloud.” If the only thing you have to complain about is walking by “dirty” people on the street, then I’d say you have it pretty good. Enough with the “quality of life” whining.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              hurrah Edie!! thank you.

              “serious” crimes include the following crime categories (7 of them) that are tracked by COMstat: Murder, rape, robbery, felonious assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto.

    4. Sarah says:

      So happy to see Loony Louie performing for the kids! Nicest clown and birthday party entertainer ever!

      • UWSdad says:

        hah, yeah, I saw that picture and thought, that’s no clown! when my kids were younger we went to at least two Loony Louie parties – they loved him and we parents thought he was much better than a children’s party magician needed to be.

    5. Ish Kabibble says:

      Nice job, NYPD.

    6. Chris B says:

      “Crime makes you stupid.” ~My late dad, a NJSP Lieutenant of Detectives~

    7. Jeffrey Morrison says:

      The police were lucky that they didn’t maim or kill children, adults or pets. They were driving way too fast on the narrow, curved paths near the dog run.

      • PedestrianJustice says:

        My thoughts exactly. Any number of bikers could’ve been rounding the corner to head down the ramp where this crash happened. Not to mention the hundreds of other park-goers. Sheesh.

    8. Miller Sherri says:

      I was in the dog run heard the crash and saw the man run away from the seen.

    9. john says:

      absolutely amazing no one using the park was hit, injured, or killed. how did they avoid folks on the paths?

      • James Key says:

        The path was just unusually empty today at that time in that particular area. I had just walked it and was sitting on a bench on the river when I saw the cops fly by after hearing sirens. Pure luck that no one (such as my dog and I) was killed. I’m dumbfounded that they would do the chase on that path when the original offense was just erratic driving as per another report.

    10. Morgan says:

      I have no idea whether the men involved have been in jail many times before, but can we all agree that 2 strikes and your out would be a great thing for our country? You cannot imagine the amount of havoc wrought upon innocent people would be avoided by such a law. And could we also take away the free weights from the prisons? I mean seriously….

    11. Lorraine Varjabedian says:

      Wow, that’s wild. Hope they catch the other guy.

      This photo – Bystanders talk to police near the site of the crash – is cracking me up. It looks like the cop is pushing the heads of the other cop & the bystander with the gray hair. 😀 I love it, Joy!

      • Steven says:

        Actually, he is doing his imitation of the cops in the Walk Like an Egyptian video by the Bangles.

    12. Mike says:

      How dare the police chase thugs in a public park! If that is the case, the community should complain so it doesn’t happen again!

    13. Editorsal says:

      I enjoy and appreciate the West Side Rag, but I must correct your misuse of “laid” in the second paragraph, second line. It should read “the other lay on the ground.” “Laid” requires a direct object, such as “he laid the camera down.”

    14. jezbel says:

      I just received a notice (time stamped 12:27AM) from Notify NYC that the Henry Hudson Pkwy has been closed in both directions between 57th St. and 96th Street “due to NYPD activity at 79th Street”. I’m hoping this means they either got the second guy cornered or they’re conducting a thorough search in and around the hiway and through the Park.
      Good luck guys, hope you get your man.

    15. Margaret says:

      wow – that’s alarming. The park should be a refuge for residents and visitors.

      No doubt the police had good intentions, but I wonder how this fits with NYPD restrictions on engaging in car chases in the city. What happens next, does this chase go through a higher level review?

      NYPD rules say a vehicle pursuit should be “terminated whenever the risks to uniformed members of the service and the public outweigh the danger to the community if [the] suspect is not immediately apprehended.”

      Who pays for the property damage?

      • Mark says:

        The taxpayer, just like when abusive officers are allowed to behave however they want. No punishment for Daniel Pantaleo, but we all foot the bill for all of the lawsuits rightfully brought against the department.

    16. Edgar says:

      Like al the liberals blame the police call the hippies next time hypocrites have a nice day

    17. joe says:

      They need to put up barriers to prevent cars from driving onto that path. I cannot believe it was empty. What luck.

    18. Fearful Max says:

      I hate how the author is trying to imply that people were possibly in danger, who were having a picnic or watching the clown. No Joe, take it easy with the fear mongering. These people were in NO DANGER. Augh.