At around 8:40 p.m. on Wednesday, there was a loud bang; when the people walking down Bedford Avenue turned to look, they saw that a car had crashed into the supermarket. Its crushed hood was lodged into the store’s front window, shattered glass and pieces of metal all around.
The car, a silver Mercedes Benz, had jumped the curb and barreled over three of the metal posts that fence in shopping carts in the front of the NSA Supermarket, which sits at the Clarkson Avenue corner in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.
The driver — a thin man in his 20s or 30s — stepped out, looking stunned.
The crowd, drawn by the sound of the crash, gathered quickly, pouring out of the nearby laundromat, bodega, pizza joint, and apartment buildings. There were gasps as the onlookers realized that a woman had been hit. She lay on the ground, conscious but bloodied, stuck between the car and one of the upright metals posts.
The fire trucks arrived with in minutes, the police cars and ambulance shortly after. And as the respondents worked — firefighters dislodging the victim and placing her on a stretcher, officers questioning the driver — the crowd buzzed, those in the know filling in those new to the scene.
The victim had been waiting at the bus stop on Bedford, said a young man in a gray hoodie. There were a few people standing there and when the car swerved toward them, they scattered and all but the women were able to escape. The paramedics took her to Kings County Hospital.
But even some of the witnesses weren’t quite sure how it all went down. The geometry of the accident confounded many in the crowd. Bedford is a two-way avenue, and the supermarket was on the car’s left side. It was at least 20 yards to the intersection and there were no nearby driveways.
The policeman talking to the driver spoke loud enough for the onlookers to hear, but the driver was quiet in his responses. So when the officer asked, “What do you remember about how this happened?” the people in the crowd could only see the driver point toward the street and curve his hand in a turning motion.
“Are you on any prescription drugs?” the officer asked.
The man shook his head as he spoke.
“Did you have anything to drink tonight?”
The man offered a multi-sentence response.
“Are you sure? Because I can smell alcohol on your breath.”
A few folks in the crowd leaned in over the yellow police tape, but the response was still inaudible. The officers escorted the driver to the ambulance. Several men, who had looked on with particular intent, shouted something to the man in French. A woman behind them asked if anybody had informed the man’s family.
Slowly, the crowd dispersed. The fire trucks drove off. An officer backed the Mercedes off the curb, its front bumper still implanted into the wall among a mess of glass and metal. As the sidewalk cleared, an older man began pulling down the corrugated steel covers over the supermarket’s windows.
By the next morning, the debris had been cleaned up and supermarket was back open. the only sign of the previous night’s trauma: three bent metal posts and a stray strand of police tape waving in the wind. One steel cover stayed shut, hiding the broken window.
Next: more photos of the scene.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 31, 2013