Jan. 24, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
The Queens/Astoria Post has obtained wild video footage of a crazed SUV driver mounting a sidewalk in Astoria Monday afternoon and then plowing into the side of a fruit and veg store—before knocking a 56-year-old woman to the pavement.
The CCTV video shows a white Mercedes-Benz SUV racing down a sidewalk on 33rd Street at around 1:30 p.m. before hitting a parking meter and then smashing into the front of United Brothers Fruit Markets – taking out several of its plexiglass windows.
The SUV then appears to plow into several fruit carts – before hitting an unsuspecting woman who is holding an umbrella in one hand and a shopping bag in another.
The woman is knocked sideways and then appears to fall face down onto the pavement while the SUV flies off the curb and flees the scene, the footage shows. The driver was apprehended by the police in Woodside about half an hour later, the NYPD said.
Ahmad Faid, the manager of the 32-24 30th Ave. store, can then be seen rushing to the woman’s aid.
“We heard the noise and I ran to the lady to give her some help and to see who this guy is,” Faid told the Queens/Astoria Post.
“He was going really fast, like mad fast.”
Fais said he immediately called 911. The woman was then taken to Elmhurst General Hospital in stable condition with abrasions to her legs and body pains, police said.
“She was in bad condition when I saw her, I hope she survives,” Faid said.
Seconds before the Mercedes hit the store, another video clip shows a second woman getting out of the way of the Mercedes as it speeds down the sidewalk.
Faid said police in unmarked cars had been chasing the Mercedes before it collided with the store, which has been in Astoria for around 50 years.
The driver, identified as 35-year-old Jeffrey Garcia from the Bronx, was picked up in the vehicle by cops in Woodside on the corner of 31st Avenue and 57th Street, police said.
Garcia was found to be in possession of two loaded firearms and a large quantity of drugs when he was apprehended, police said.
He has been charged with criminal possession of drugs and weapons, as well as reckless endangerment.
Meanwhile, Garcia left behind a trail of destruction outside the store.
Photos provided by Faid show smashed plexiglass, poles and fruit strewn across the sidewalk. Faid said the awning was also damaged.
He said the repairs will cost several hundred dollars at least, but he said his main concern is the woman’s wellbeing.
“We have a lot of damage but we just hope the lady is fine,” Faid said.