MIDTOWN — An 89-year-old man was struck and seriously injured after an out-of-control sport utility vehicle careened into a crowd outside Saks Fifth Avenue Tuesday morning, authorities and witnesses reported.
The SUV crashed into a panel truck just before 11 a.m. as both vehicles traveled south on Fifth Avenue between West 49th and West 50th streets, witnesses and the fire department said.
The violent crash sent the SUV, a gray late-model Ford Escape registered to a company in North Carolina, into a crowd standing in front of the department store, police said. It slammed into the elderly victim before coming to a stop, officials said.
"I heard skidding. I looked over and I saw that guy get launched," said Chris Wendel, 23, a greeter at Michael Kors, across the street from Saks. "It looked like it launched him into the Saks doors."
A Saks sales associate said the man was bleeding but conscious.
"He was doing down slowly," the associate, who declined to give his name, said. "He was bleeding through his head. He was trying to get up, but the cops told him to relax."
The unidentified man went into cardiac or respiratory and was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, a fire source said. His condition improved, however, and his injuries, though serious, were not believed to be life threatening, according to police and fire officials.
There is no criminality suspected, police added.
Roughly an hour later, the SUV remained on the sidewalk, ringed by yellow police tape. A pair of purple gloves — the kind used by emergency medical workers — lay near the front wheels.
Looking on from across the street, Wendel remained stunned.
"I don't know how that can happen on Fifth Avenue, you know what I mean?" he said.