By Sonja Sharp and Nicole Bode
MANHATTAN — An allegedly drunken driver flipped his car into the center of the Frederick Douglass Circle — narrowly avoiding the recently-installed statue of the civil rights leader — before being arrested and led away in handcuffs, fire officials said.
The man, who was not identified, was driving just after midnight when he lost control of his vehicle and flipped his car into the center of the concrete plaza, at Frederick Douglass Blvd. and Central Park North, witnesses and fire officials said. The car began smoking, fire officials said.
He was asked to take a breathalyzer at the scene before he was arrested and taken to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital with minor injuries, witnesses and fire officials said.
It took officials more than an hour to get the car off of the plaza, where it jumped a set of concrete stairs and landed near the statue of the civil rights leader. The statue was not damaged, witnesses said.
The car had to be hooked to a chain and dragged out of the plaza, where it was placed on a flatbed truck.
Police said they did not immediately have information about the incident.
The statue was dedicated Sept. 20, during a ceremony that drew community leaders and descendants of the escaped slave and abolitionist leader.
The statue was erected more than 60 years after Eighth Avenue was named after Douglass, who escaped slavery in Maryland in 1838 and made it to New York, where he changed his name from Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey to Frederick Douglass.
David Torres contributed reporting