Exclusive: Victim Speaks Out After Wrong-Way, Head-On Crash In Midtown Tunnel
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A speeding driver was caught on camera heading the wrong-way through the Midtown Tunnel and crashing into an Uber vehicle before trying to run away and allegedly threatening officers with his cell phone.
The victim of the crash spoke exclusively to CBS2's Ali Bauman about the horrifying ride.
The dashcam video is petrifying. Taken from inside a car correctly driving on the left of two Manhattan-bound lanes in the Midtown Tunnel, the driver rounds a bend to suddenly see another car heading directly at him.
"I was in shock," said Zafar, the driver. "I was thinking about my children, my wife. It's a miracle I'm alive."
The 37-year-old Uber driver had two female passengers in the backseat Sunday around 1:30 a.m.
Police say 18-year-old Jorge Beato had a learners permit and was high on marijuana and cocaine when he slammed through a barrier at the closed 35th Street entrance ramp to the tunnel and drove the wrong way for half a mile.
Investigators say he was going 20 miles over the speed limit until he totaled Zafar's car.
"I was checking to save my life, to get out, so finally I found this open door so I got out from there," said Zafar as he looked over his severely damaged vehicle.
Everyone survived. Zafar and his passengers were rushed to the hospital.
Zafar said he now suffers pain in both of his shoulders and down his legs.
As for the other driver, the video shows him get out of his car in a red hoodie before the video stops.
Police sources tell CBS2 the Beato was trying to make a run for it through the tunnel, but two MTA police officers drove in and blocked him.
Sources say Beato pulled out his cell phone and aimed it at the officers like a weapon, but they quickly realized it wasn't a threat and arrested him.
"I was so angry, how can this guy put another life in danger," said Zafar. "Then I think about other people and this could happen to anybody."
Sources say police found used drug bags in Beato's car, which is registered to his father. He faces several charges including reckless driving.
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