A driver fled a traffic stop in Hartford, sped down the street in front of Sanchez Elementary School shortly before classes started Friday morning and crashed into four parked vehicles, injuring one occupant, police said.
One adult was taken to Hartford Hospital, and three children were taken to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center as a precaution, police said. The adult, a woman who had been sitting in a parked SUV with a man and the children, was cut by broken glass.
The crashes happened about 7:50 a.m., after the driver of a gray sedan fled a traffic stop nearby in the South End, Sgt. Steve Kneeland said.
Vice and narcotics detectives pulled the car over as a part of an investigation, Deputy Chief Brian Foley said. But the driver threw the car in reverse and sped backwards down the street, nearly striking the officer, Kneeland said. Police tried to pursue him, but the man sped away so fast they “never even … engaged,” he said.
A short time later, according to police and witnesses, the driver turned down Babcock Street in front of the school and struck an occupied pickup truck that was parked on the right side of the road directly in front of the school. He then sideswiped a sedan parked on the left, took out a side-view mirror of a third vehicle and slammed into the occupied SUV parked on the right, they said.
Angel Lopez, who had been sitting in the pickup that was hit, said his three children — two boys and a girl — had been in the truck a minute earlier. He heard screeching tires and saw the gray car “flying down the street,” he said.
“He ate that stop sign over there,” Lopez said, referring to a knocked-down sign. “That’s when he swiped my truck.”
After the driver struck three more vehicles, Lopez saw that a woman in the parked SUV was bleeding.
Had the car sped down the street five minutes later, the road would have been clogged with students and school buses, a school employee said.
Antoinette Blunt, who lives next to the school at 164 Babcock St., said she’s been after the city for some time to do something about speeding on the one-way road. She’d like to see speed bumps put in, she said.
“I’ve lived here since 2015 and I’ve called city hall,” she said.
The driver of the speeding car faces numerous motor vehicle and drug charges, Foley said. He is 19 but does not have a driver’s license. The man’s name wasn’t immediately available.
Kneeland said he’s glad no one was seriously injured.
“At the end of the day, I’m glad none of the kids got hurt …none of my guys got hurt,” he said.