HAMILTON HEIGHTS — A driver puffing away on a cigarette was pulled from a mangled minivan with a child inside after he crashed it into another car Friday morning, witnesses said.
The man, whose name and age weren't immediately released, was driving a Chrysler Town and Country heading down West 149th Street when he rear-ended another car before slamming into a tree near Riverside Drive about 7:45 a.m., witnesses and FDNY officials said.
"I saw the vehicle coming down the hill pretty fast. He made an attempt to slow down and brake, but he hit another car and went over to the tree and started a domino effect. The airbags deployed immediately," witness Pené Chambers, 60, said.
A tire from one of the other cars flew down Riverside Drive, witnesses added.
Emergency responders came and comforted the child while trying to free the driver, Chambers noted.
"They cut him out of the car with the 'Jaws of Life.' He was smoking a cigarette through the whole thing," she said.
Chambers also said she saw beer bottles in the car. It wasn't immediately clear if the driver was drinking them leading up to the crash.
Witnesses said the driver was led away in handcuffs.
Three people were treated for minor injuries at Harlem Hospital as a result of the crash, FDNY officials said.
NYPD officials didn't immediately have further information.