NYPD officers racing to respond to a 911 call for a Brooklyn shooting — that turned out to be unfounded — blasted through a red light and fatally struck a motorcyclist, authorities and witnesses said Sunday.
A marked NYPD SUV was heading west on Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburg blaring its emergency lights and sirens when its driver slammed into a 37-year-old man on a motorcycle heading south on Driggs Ave. about 9:25 p.m. Saturday, authorities said.
The motorcyclist was knocked from his bike and suffered severe head trauma. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital but could not be saved. His name was not immediately released by police.
“He ended up going into the poles on the sidewalk [about 15 feet from where he was hit],” said Keith Winters, 22, who witnessed the crash while working the host stand at The Butcher’s Daughter, a nearby restaurant. “I saw the cop car go past the red light.”
Winters said the motorcycle rider clearly had the green light before he was blindsided. An NYPD spokesman could not say who had the right of way, saying the detail was a “part of the investigation” into the crash.
Police said the cops in the SUV were responding to a 911 call for a man shot at Metropolitan and Wythe Aves. They were three blocks from that scene when they struck the motorcyclist.
As the officers rushed to the scene, police started getting different details from the 911 caller, who now claimed someone was bleeding after getting punched in the face, and though no one was shot a crowd was gathering and someone in it was carrying a gun.
When police arrived at the scene, they found no assault and marked the call “unfounded.”
Butcher’s Daughter during the crash.
“The speed that the SUV was going was so fast, there wouldn’t have been enough time to hear the siren and or see the lights even,” said Lundquist. “Even if he had seen the cop coming, they would have had a collision because the cop was going very fast.”
Bystanders who passed by the aftermath of the crash said the motorcycle ended up wedged beneath a black Mercedes sedan after the crash.
“The bike was under the car, sandwiched underneath it, between the car and the sidewalk,” said Zac, 25, who lives nearby the scene and declined to provide his last name. “There was the most cops I’ve probably ever seen.”
“On the way back we saw a girl with her hand to her heart, looking upset,” said Kellon Johnston, 25, who also lives nearby. “I went to bed around 1 a.m. and saw lights flashing through the window till then.”
“You could feel it was something dramatic,” he added.