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A New York City man’s blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit when he drove through Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood and struck five people, killing one of them, WABC-TV reports.
The driver, 26-year-old Mahbub Ali, has allegedly admitted to police that he started drinking around 12 p.m. Sunday and continued imbibing for hours until going for a drive, according to the New York Post.
On Third Avenue, Ali jumped a curb and began driving on the sidewalk at East 21st Street, where he struck multiple pedestrians. The victim who died, a 23-year-old man, was in the process of crossing Third Avenue when Ali hit him and launched his body into the air.
Ali was in court on Tuesday, where a judge ordered him held on $300,000 bail. Prosecutors had asked that he be remanded in the state’s custody before trial.
Two hours after the incident, Ali’s blood alcohol was tested and registered at .158, which is almost twice what is permitted for getting behind the wheel in New York.
A 21-year-old man and 26-year-old woman, both pedestrians, suffered leg injuries in the rampage, while an 18-year-old riding an e-bike complained of leg and back pain. A 25-year-old woman who was a passenger in the vehicle also was hurt.
A trail of physical destruction could be seen in the wake of the terrifying ordeal.
“It was just screaming and commotion, people running out from stores. It was horrific,” one witness told CBS New York.
Said another: “It was ugly, really bad, people lying on the sidewalk. Car smashed into the electric charger hub. It was a disaster. People were on the floor. It was like a triage center.”
Ali was reportedly crying when police arrested him. He is charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment, and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Steven Epstein, a defense lawyer representing Ali, urged the public to consider that his client may not be criminally responsible.
“This was a tragic accident that has impacted the lives of several families,” his defense attorney Steven Epstein told the Post. “We are remorseful for the results of the accident but ask that everyone keep in mind not all accidents result in criminal responsibility even tragic ones such as this.”
The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for June 9.
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