HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (WPIX) -- A Hofstra University student is facing charges he drove off in a fire chief's official SUV, causing several accidents that left ten people injured, including himself.
According to authorities, the incident unraveled when the assistant Uniondale fire chief responded to an alarm at a Hofstra University dormitory in Hempstead Wednesday afternoon. He left the keys in the vehicle's ignition with the engine running and the emergency lights on. Police say that's when 18-year-old Bilal Khan of Lynbrook, a freshman at the school, hopped in the SUV and took off, heading west on Fulton Avenue.
Nassau County Police say he drove "wildly" into the Village of Hempstead, committing several traffic violations. Khan collided with a 1999 Lexus Sedan, causing it to to spin and hit a 1990 GMC truck. Khan then rear-ended a 1997 GMC Jimmy, pushing it into the rear of a New York City taxi. The impact knocked the SUV into the path of a 2007 Mercedes, which hit the SUV's driver side door, according to authorities.
Police say Khan attempted to escape through the passenger-side door, but an off-duty Nassau County corrections officer and a fire prevention officer held him until Hempstead Village police officers arrived to the scene at Fulton and Bennett Avenues, and arrested him.
Three occupants of the GMC Jimmy were hospitalized with serious injuries. A four-year-old girl who was also in the Jimmy was taken to the hospital for observation, then released. Five other people were treated for pain, including the drivers of the Lexus and the Mercedes, and the driver and passengers of the taxi.
Khan is being charged with five counts of assault, two counts of grand larceny, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, driving while impaired by drugs and unlawful possession of marijuana.