Building collapses after car crashes into it ‘just right’

A car smashed into a building on Avenue P in Midwood, collapsing the building.

MIDWOOD – A driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a two-story Midwood building, sending the structure tumbling down on top of it, briefly trapping the driver and the occupants, police said.

Police say the crash occurred shortly before 11:30 p.m. when the vehicle, said to be traveling west on Avenue P, apparently lost control for no apparent reason and crashed into 946 Avenue P, a mixed-use building, with AK Convenience store on the ground floor and an apartment, which was apparently vacant, above.

The impact immediately brought down the front façade all the way to the roof, burying the yet unidentified car under tons of debris. The wreck woke scores of residents surrounding the building who flowed onto the street.

A car smashed into a building on Avenue P in Midwood Brooklyn collapsing the building. Onlookers from neighborhood view the collapse in amazement. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

“I hope the kids are not in there,” said Alfred Lolang, a resident of East 5th Street for 10 years. “I heard the bang and ran out of the house. I know a Mexican family lived there, but nobody saw them in there. I can’t believe what happened here.”

A car smashed into a building on Avenue P in Midwood Brooklyn collapsing the building. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

Members of the Shomrim volunteer patrol arrived minutes after the crash and members said they saw several young men crawling from the debris. They followed a man they identified as the driver to Kings Highway, where police met up with them and held him.

The man, who allegedly identified himself to police as the driver, was bleeding from the head and was taken to NYU-Langone Lutheran Medical Center for treatment. Police have not charged him with any crime as yet.

A car smashed into a building on Avenue P in Midwood Brooklyn collapsing the building. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

Firefighters meanwhile did a cursory search of the building, said FDNY Borough Commander Wayne Cartwright. He said they had a ‘major collapse matrix” and firefighters were on scene within three minutes of the crash, but found nobody in the debris.

A daylight search will be conducted today for any other people, but police believe all occupants of the car were able to extricate themselves and nobody was in the apartment above. Buildings Department officials were on the scene in the morning evaluating the integrity of the building and the adjoining building containing commercial and apartments.

A crane was being brought in to eventually dig out the crushed vehicle which was still in the building after the crash. More details will be available on this story later this afternoon.

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Todd Maisel
Todd Maisel is an award-winning photographer with more than 35-years, specializing in breaking news. He currently serves as vice president of the New York Press Photographers. He was honored by the National Press Photographers Association and the Uniform Firefighters Association for saving the life of a firefighter he found in debris after the collapse of the World Trade Center, assisting in the rescue of an injured photographer, and for extensive coverage of the attack. Maisel is a graduate of NYU School of Journalism.
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