By Joy Bergmann
NYPD 24th Precinct Lt. Matthew Bases confirmed the driver of a rented sedan that crashed in Riverside Park last week has not yet been apprehended. Detectives know the man’s identity but have not released that information to the public, Lt. Bases told attendees of the 24th Precinct Community Council meeting Wednesday evening. Police arrested the sedan’s passenger at the scene.
The incident began, Lt. Bases said, when the sedan hit another car on 107th Street. The driver of that car confronted the sedan’s driver who then took off down 107th, turning south onto Broadway. NYPD officers who had been writing a summons on a different vehicle saw the sedan blow through a red light at 101st Street. “They got back into their car and started following them.”
The sedan went through several other red lights trying to elude the police, said Lt. Bases. The sedan jumped on the Henry Hudson Parkway and exited into Riverside Park at 79th Street before crashing near the 72nd Street underpass. “While they were doing it, they were apparently throwing out big bags of marijuana,” with NYPD recovering “three or four pounds,” he said.
“Thankfully nobody was injured. It was about six o’clock in the evening when this was happening and there were children, people in the park,” he added. “It could’ve really gone bad really fast and thankfully it didn’t.”
WSR asked if the officers’ actions were in violation of NYPD procedures regarding pursuits. According to the NYPD Patrol Guide:
Department policy requires that a vehicle pursuit be terminated whenever the risks to uniformed members of the service and the public outweigh the danger to the community if suspect is not immediately apprehended.
“It was not a pursuit. They followed the individual. The only time they lit this individual up is when they went into the park,” said Lt. Bases. “Until then they were following him. They weren’t chasing him.” He then added, “On the surface it does not appear to have been a violation, but there is an Internal Affairs investigation going on.”
Other items discussed during the meeting:
The Intelligence Division arrested a 19 year-old man who had threatened to “blow up West Side High School” if his extortionate demands for $50,000 were not met. Police also determined it “was not a credible threat.”
Postal Police arrested a suspect in the ongoing investigation into mailbox fishing and subsequent check cashing crimes against residents. “The individual had a key to the mailboxes, so it seems like they must’ve known someone in the Postal Service,” said Lt. Bases.
Fifteen “shots fired” calls were made in the 24th Precinct during the past 28 days, six in the area between 100th and 107th Streets, Central Park West to Amsterdam; five in the area between 90th and 94th Streets, Columbus to Broadway. “We’re sending our Anti-Crime and Conditions teams into these areas to try to address it,” said Lt. Bases.
Fourteen bicycles were stolen in the past 28-day period. The precinct offers the Operation ID program to any citizens wishing to register their bike’s serial number to aid in return of that bike should it be stolen and later recovered.
While year-to-date summonses issued to bicyclists are up 20% compared to 2015, the past 28-day period saw such tickets comparatively decrease by 72%. Sgt. Carmine Semioli, who heads up traffic enforcement at the 24th, attributed this reduction to the absence of an officer who focuses on bike violations. “He is out with a broken leg.”