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Belle Mead Woman Charged with Attempted Murder after Crashing into 7 People in Midtown Manhattan

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted August 22, 2023 Updated at 6 pm.

New York City police say a 29-year-old woman from Belle Mead drove through a red light at the intersection of West 36th Street near Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan on Sunday, August 20, at 11:53 pm seriously injuring seven people.

Police arrested Imani Lucas, and charged her with seven counts of attempted murder, seven counts of assault, seven counts of reckless endangerment, seven counts of leaving the scene of an accident with serious injuries, and seven counts of reckless driving.

David Muir, anchor of ABC World News Tonight, reported on Monday that the driver ran a red light, crashed into the victims, and just kept driving. She then crashed into two other vehicles on the Long Island Expressway, which is where the police apprehended her. She is now undergoing a mental health evaluation, according to Muir.

Belle Mead driver's car

Picture of the Belle Mead driver's car. Photo by The New York Times.

The victims were six men and one woman, and range in age from 24 to 61. At least one victim is in critical condition. EMS responded and transported one female and four males to NYC Health and Hospitals/Bellevue in stable condition. A 32-year-old male was transported by EMS to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in stable condition. A 30-year-old male refused medical attention at the scene, according to the NYPD.

Among the group hit by the car were two Italians identified as Matteo Maj (51, a graphic designer) and Giulia Gardani (34, a tennis instructor) from Piacenza, according to La Voce di New York. "Gardani, who arrived at the emergency room in critical condition, underwent a lengthy five-hour surgery for a cervical spine injury," according to the publication.

A preliminary investigation by the NYPD Highway District's Collision Investigation Squad determined a Lucas was operating a 2013 Honda Accord eastbound on West 36th Street approaching the intersection of Sixth Avenue, when she disobeyed a steady red traffic signal and struck the seven pedestrians within the crosswalk. The vehicle then continued eastbound on West 36th Street toward the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Approximately 30 minutes later, the Honda came to rest after colliding with two vehicles on the Long Island Expressway in the vicinity of 188th Street.

News 12 reported that "the woman told authorities that she prayed to God and closed her eyes as she ran the red light."

A surveillance video released to News12 captured the car plowing into the pedestrians.

NYPD says the investigation remains ongoing.


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