Car pins man on steps of NYC courthouse

April 11, 2008 8:28:45 PM PDT
A car hurtled up the courthouse steps made famous by "Law & Order" on Friday, injuring six people, one of whom was pinned beneath the vehicle and had to be freed by firefighters. The car jumped a curb, rear-ended a coffee cart and careered up the busy stairs of Manhattan's state Supreme Court building, pinning one man beneath its front end.

Firefighters covered the pinned man's face with a sheet to protect him from sparks and metal fragments as they used powerful electrical saws to cut through the 1999 Nissan sedan he was trapped under. Then they lifted the auto and pulled the man onto a stretcher before taking him away.

Six people, including the pinned man and the sedan's driver, were taken to hospitals; none appeared to have life-threatening injuries, police spokesman Christopher Filippazzo said.

The driver was arrested on charges of reckless endangerment and driving with a suspended license, police said.

The courthouse, an imposing 1927 landmark, is featured in the opening shots of the long-running TV show "Law & Order," and the exterior court scenes are shot on the steps where the accident occurred.

James Rossetti, deputy New York County clerk, called it "a miracle" that no one was killed. The accident occurred just before lunch hour in the bustling neighborhood.

A few hours after the crash, a pedestrian was hit by a taxi across the street and about 60 feet away, at Pearl and Centre streets.

Several court officers noted that Centre Street is an exit off the Brooklyn Bridge. They said they were surprised that even more accidents didn't occur in the area because of the speed at which some cars come off the span.