GOWANUS — A man drove his car into the toxic Gowanus Canal on Monday morning after fleeing the scene of a nearby hit-and-run that injured a mom while she was taking her baby out of her car, police sources said.
The 36-year-old driver, whose name was not immediately released, crashed through a safety rail at the dead end of Degraw Street near Bond Street at approximately 11:15 a.m., and sank into one of the country's most polluted waterways, fire officials said.
Just happened in Gowanus canal. Driver is not hurt pic.twitter.com/pyxWvgU6sf— keith blacknick (@Mediagoon) January 18, 2016
The driver managed to escape the vehicle before it sank, but police quickly realized he was the same man who had plowed into the back of a parked Toyota Camry at Degraw and Court Streets, where he ran over a 41-year-old woman's foot, a police source and witness said.
The woman was taking her baby out of a car seat and putting her into a stroller when the driver headed south on Court Street and crashed into her parked car while turning left onto Degraw Street, witnesses said.
The woman was knocked down, but the stroller was not.
"She was in shock," said Cynthia Cabrera, 29, one of several bystanders who came to the woman's aid. "'She kept saying, 'My baby, my baby!'"
The woman and her 1-year-old daughter were taken to New York Methodist Hospital, according to a police source.
The driver was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving an injury and reckless endangerment, the source said.
Below: An NYPD diver, having hooked the car in the canal to a winch cable, helps a tow truck lift the car out of the Gowanus Canal.