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Car Jumps Sidewalk and Hits Woman in Front of Spruce St. School, Police Say

By Gwynne Hogan | April 15, 2015 3:34pm
 A car sped down a sidewalk down a sidewalk on Beekman Street hitting one pedestrian, police and witnesses said.
A car sped down a sidewalk down a sidewalk on Beekman Street hitting one pedestrian, police and witnesses said.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A car mounted the sidewalk and sent parents and children headed to school running for their lives — before hitting a woman and speeding away on Monday morning, police and witnesses said.

Stacy Cohen was walking her 7-year-old son to the Spruce Street School with her newborn baby in a stroller at 8:00 a.m. Monday when she noticed a white sports car pulling up on the sidewalk. She assumed it was trying to squeeze into a parking spot at Beekman Street near the corner of Nassau Street just a few hundred feet from the entrance to the school. But then it sped up, she said.

“All of a sudden [the driver] accelerated towards us,” said Cohen, 42. “I flung the stroller out of the way and yelled at my son to move. The woman who got hit, she had just passed us.”

She managed to swing the stroller out of the line of the of the car and her son darted into the street away from the car, she said.

The driver zoomed west along the sidewalk on Beekman, striking a 37-year-old woman from behind, and then kept going, police and witnesses said.

“[I] heard a bump and I looked over..[and] I just saw this woman somersaulting in the air and then she landed on the sidewalk,” said Ilana Fischer, 34, who was stuck in traffic at the time of the accident.

“[The driver] drove on the sidewalk as if it was a lane,” Fischer said. “So fast that I turned my head and I didn’t see the car.”

Fischer said the injured woman was left with a giant gash on her forehead after the collision, but was conscious.

The woman, whose identity was not released, was taken to NY Presbyterian hospital a block from the crash site in stable condition, police said.

Witnesses said that Monday's crash was the latest instance of drivers going up onto the sidewalk to try to beat the morning rush-hour traffic on Beekman.

The one-lane westbound street, which leads to the Brooklyn Bridge up ramp, has construction on one end and delivery trucks often clog the traffic flow, witnesses and people familiar with the street said.

“[You see] cars driving on the sidewalk every other day,” said Davinra Sukhu, 42, who has worked at the parking garage across from the accident for eight years. “This street is a mess.”

Three years ago, a 58-year-old UPS driver was fatally struck on the block when a car jumped the curb and pinned him against a building.

Spruce Street School adminstrators and parents have long been pushing for better traffic control along Beekman Street

Cohen said she and her children had to seek shelter in the parking garage across the street for a moment while they caught their breath after their near-miss on Monday.

“We were just so shaken,” she said, adding that she was worried that her son would be traumatized by the sight of the injured woman, “I didn’t my son to see the woman who got hit.”

Police said they haven’t made any arrests but are investigating the incident.