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14 are injured when SUV crashes into Hanukkah party

The motorist loses control and drives through plate glass in Long Island. Half the victims are children.

December 26, 2008|Newsday

WOODMERE, N.Y. — An SUV crashed through plate-glass windows and into a Hanukkah party Thursday, running over a crowd of people, including children, police said.

Fourteen people were injured at the Chanukah Wonderland party, half of them children, police said. At least four victims were in serious condition.

The injured ranged in age from 18 months to about 40 years old.

About 100 people were at the Long Island party when a BMW burst in about 2:45 p.m., police said.

"People are running in all different directions," Nassau Police Det. Lt. Kevin Smith said. "There was a lot of chaos at the scene."

He described the festival as "basically a child's party."

The 2007 BMW X3 came to rest at the far end of the room, pinning a man under a front tire. About 30 men lifted the vehicle off him, said Leo Shalamoff, owner of a restaurant across the street.

"When we heard the screams, we ran out of the store right away to help," he said. Injured children lay on the floor amid pieces of broken glass, metal and wood from window frames and walls, he said.

Police did not release the name of the driver, but the BMW is registered to Theodore Saretsky, 76.

State motor vehicle records show that Saretsky is a psychologist with no accidents or violations.

"The operator lost control of this car," Smith said. "He may have made a claim that something happened with the accelerator."

The driver, who was described as being in shock, was also hospitalized. No charges had been filed as of Thursday night.

Rabbi Heshy Blumstein and his wife, Mimi, visited some of the injured at one of three hospitals where the victims were taken.

"It was a horrible tragedy," Blumstein said.

Still, Mimi Blumstein said, the fact that there were many survivors means "there are miracles all over."

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