A car swerved out of control, plowed down a sidewalk and smashed through a storefront flower stand in East Village this morning, injuring 6 people. A 63-year-old grocery store worker was critically hurt in the early morning accident, which left half a city block in shambles. Two other workers who were struck - a 54-year-old man and a 39-year-old man - were in stable condition.
The car came to a rest at the side of the building at Second Avenue and East 4th Street.
Police arrested the driver, Shaun Martin, who they said was driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
According to investigators, when police arrived at the scene, Martin had bloodshot eyes, was unsteady on his feet and kept repeating "Am I dead?" The drug he had with him in a ziploc bag in his sock was angel dust, officials said.
Martin was ordered held on $100,000 bail.
Police said Martin, 32, of Queens, has faced charges before for drug possession and drunken driving, but detail on the outcome of those cases wasn't immediately available.
Investigators were still trying to determine how fast the car was moving, but one witness who saw the wreck unfold said he saw two vehicles racing down Second Avenue at a frightening speed.
"They were swerving around cars. When the white car swerved right, it lost control," said Dr. Alvaro Alban.
The southbound white Nissan Altima veered off Second Avenue and careened into the East Village Grocery, a popular 24-hour deli.
A fire hydrant landed down the block, and a large tree and a street sign were down. Outdoor refrigerator cases were also overturned, with flowers strewn on the sidewalk and on the crumpled hood of the car.
"Everything that was in the way, he took it out," said bystander Rafael Fuentes.
The car crashed through the market's flower stand, overturning an outdoor refrigerator case.
Another witness, Najava Stone, said people were hurt by flying debris. He said the car spun before landing in a crosswalk.
Several people were hospitalized, including three workers at the grocery store. One cyclist in the city's new bike-share program was hit by a flying fire hydrant, police said.
A police spokesman said investigators were looking into reports that a second car had also been speeding down the street.
The other car never stopped, Alban said.
A passenger in the car complained of pain, but was not seriously hurt.