A stolen vehicle led police on a high-speed chase across Manhattan Thursday night.
The chase began around 7 PM, when a New York State Trooper spotted a red Lamborghini speeding on I-95.
“We clocked the vehicle going at about 145 MPH,” said Officer James Cooper, the trooper who initiated the pursuit.
Cooper said that the driver, 40 year old Izumi Mario, initially complied with the traffic stop. However, once Cooper ran the license plate he realized that the vehicle had been reported as stolen from a dealership in New Jersey. As Cooper approached the vehicle again, Mario yelled out the window and drove off. Cooper immediately began pursuit, while radioing for assistance.
“Before I could detain the suspect, he opened his window and screamed ‘Here we go!'” recounted Cooper. “He took off like a bat out of hell. I went after him while calling in backup.”
Cooper was soon joined by another nearby trooper, Officer Omar Gumba. The two troopers continued to pursue Mario, who was driving erratically and throwing objects out of his window.
The troopers say that Mario then exited the interstate and headed towards Manhattan. Cooper radioed ahead to inform the NYPD of the situation. Mario led the troopers and NYPD officers through Turtle Bay, down FDR Drive, and finally down Fifth Avenue before eventually losing control of the vehicle after hitting a discarded banana peel lying in the middle of the road.
“It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Jeff Cicero, head chef of Fifth Avenue restaurant Ai Fiori. “I look out the window and half the NYPD is setting up shop down the street from me. Then this guy in a red Lambo comes turning down onto my street and starts sliding all over the place. I never seen anything like it in my life.”
After losing control, the vehicle crashed into a police roadblock. No officers or bystanders were reported injured, but Mario was taken to the hospital for minor injuries after he exited the vehicle and attempted to escape by scaling a brick wall. Mario also tested positive for high amounts of the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin, more commonly known as “magic mushrooms”.
“We’re glad nobody got hurt,” said NYPD Captain Henry Bowser in a statement to reporters. “This incident could have ended a lot worse.”
Troopers Cooper and Gumba both received personal commendations from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York State Police Chief Steven Nigrelli.
Police are still unsure how exactly the vehicle slipped on the banana peel. NYPD forensics specialist Daisy Piché noted that, while an unlikely occurrence, it was possible that bad braking may have led to Mario losing control.
“I’ve never seen it happen,” commented Piché, “But it’s definitely possible. Unlikely, but possible.”
Piché went into further detail about what may have happened.
“It’s possible that when the driver braked going into the turn, he happened to brake right on top of the banana peel. This could have caused the tire to lose traction, and ultimately cause the car to spin out of control.”
Piché also added that Mario’s altered state most likely contributed to him losing control of the car.
“Most of the time, your car isn’t going to slip if you run over a banana peel. But when hallucinogenic drugs come into play, who knows what could happen?”
The New York City District Attorney’s office has said that Izumi Mario will face multiple charges, including grand theft auto, DUI, reckless endangerment, destruction of property, and resisting arrest. He is expected to face arraignment Monday morning.
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