A driver struck an elderly man in Queens yesterday—and good Samaritans held him when he tried to flee until police arrived. The News reports that driver William Stafford, 33, struck the 89-year-old man as he was crossing the intersection of 25th Avenue and 44th Street in Astoria just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Witnesses say that Stafford first got out to check on the elderly man: "I saw the driver get out of the car and go to pick up the man, who had to be in his 80s,” witness Lili Skorpanic, who works nearby, told the Post. "He was wearing this gray business suit, so I figured he was a gentlemen, a professional, who would know what to do. But he just panicked and ran off."
He allegedly tried to flee the scene in his 2005 BMW, but three other motorists gave chase and were able to stop and hold him. "It’s like the whole neighborhood got together and followed him," Skorpanic told them.
The elderly man, whose name hasn't been released, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition. Stafford has now been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle for the crash. He has at least two prior arrests, including one for drunk driving.