WILLIAMSBURG — A drunken driver tore through Williamsburg in a stolen van, hitting a pole, a mailbox and four cars — including one that ricocheted into three pedestrians, according to police and prosecutors.
Joel Fernandez, 27, who was arrested at the scene with a Modelo beer still in his pocket, began his rampage after stealing a 2007 Ford van about 11 a.m. April 20, near the intersection of Broadway and Lorimer Street, according to police.
Using a set of keys the owner of the van had left in the car's center console, Fernandez drove down Lorimer Street for a block and one-half before he smashed into the first car, which then bumped into three pedestrians, police said. The extent of the pedestrians' injuries wasn't clear.
Fernandez continued down Lorimer Street and rammed into a sign post and a U.S. mailbox at the corner of Marcy Avenue and Lorimer before crashing into a second car, police said.
He made a right-hand turn headed the wrong direction onto one-way Lee Avenue, where he rammed into a third car. That car bumped into another vehicle, police said.
A block away, Fernandez turned left onto Middleton Street, where he crashed into a fourth vehicle, before continuing to Wallabout Street, according to police.
Fernandez, who lives nearby in Bed-Stuy, tried to flee on foot but was stopped by bystanders who'd seen the chaotic scene unfurl, police said.
Police said his speech was slurred, he was having trouble balancing and he was found with a six-pack carton holding one remaining Modelo beer in his jacket pocket.
He told officials he'd had six beers, police said.
In all, Fernandez damaged six vehicles — including the Ford he'd stolen, police said.
Fernandez has a number of open criminal cases, including one for drinking in public and another from October where he was charged with stealing a beer from a Bed-Stuy bodega and found carrying a .22-caliber pistol, according to prosecutors.
He'd been released without bail after that arrest.
Fernandez's lawyer couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
After the April 20 incident, prosecutors charged Fernandez with grand larceny, operating under the influence, reckless driving and a number of other charges.
Fernandez is being held at Rikers Island in lieu of $5,000 bail, according to Department of Corrections records.