Driver arrested after plowing into New York City protesters, injuring 6

A driver was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment after plowing a car into a group of protesters in New York City and striking at least six people Friday afternoon, authorities said Saturday.

The New York City Police Department said the driver, Kathleen Casillo, 52, barreled a car into dozens of people who were participating in “The People March in Solidarity With ICE Detainees” protest around 4 p.m. Friday. The protest, which started in Times Square, was done in solidarity with immigration detainees who are in the midst of a monthlong hunger strike at the Bergen County Jail in New Jersey, NBC New York reported.

“I hear people screaming in the front. I look behind me, the woman is plowing through, I run out of the way, I see bodies flying,” a witness told NBC New York.

No life-threatening injuries were reported.

A woman is taken into police custody after a vehicle she drove plowed into a crowd of about 50 people at a Black Lives Matter protest on Dec. 11, 2020, in Manhattan.Dina Regine / via Reuters

Casillo was arrested on a charge of reckless endangerment. Another person, Nicole Besuden, 32, was also arrested during the incident, accused of disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and interfering with emergency medical services, police said.

According to two law enforcement sources, protesters surrounded Casillo’s car, while tapping and pounding on it. Police said she apparently panicked and drove forward to get away, striking the protesters along the way, NBC New York reported.

Paramedics, firefighters and police officers rushed to the scene, where a scooter-based officer flagged down the driver and a female passenger, police said. Casillo and the female passenger, who was with her at the time of the collision, remained at the scene and were questioned by police.

A city official briefed on recent protests said this was one of several collisions where protesters gathered near vehicles, and drivers panicked and accidentally accelerated.


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