Cleanup underway after fleeing driver hit NYPD officer outside Midtown wine bar

Crews on Thursday continued the cleanup process outside where a driver struck an NYPD officer on Wednesday. 

The incident happened right outside the wine bar restaurant, Wine:30, on East 30th and Park in Midtown. The bar’s $20,000 outdoor dining shed is a total loss, but its owner said he's feeling thankful.

"Nobody was hurt," Volkan Muti, the owner said, "we should be thankful."

Muti said a party of eight asked to sit outside moments before the incident happened, but he was short-staffed, so he had them sit inside instead.

It all happened around 5 p.m. when a driver fleeing police came barreling down the block, smashing the shed so hard debris and metal went flying everywhere.

"Timing was everything," said Brendan Gardener, the owner of Mason Jar, a restaurant next door. "No one was around, thank God."

READ MORE: NYPD officer struck by vehicle in Midtown

The chaos started when police attempted to pull over the driver of a black Cadillac at 7th Avenue and West 39th, they had no idea he’d floor the gas pedal, taking off toward Madison and East 30th.

"It was kind of crazy," says an onlooker. "You’re just walking through the park. And you hear all the sirens coming out of nowhere, and then you go into the street and everything is closed off and people running."

More officers attempted to apprehend the driver, trying to escape police—when the driver reversed the vehicle hitting an officer.

"First thing I said was, ‘Oh my God, this is really happening,’" Muti said. "Like I never thought anything like that [would happen] especially in this part of town.

The driver skirted down the busy block of scared onlookers, jumping the curb and slamming into the dining shed. The driver jetted off again, narrowly missing numerous people, including an elderly woman, crossing the intersection with a walker, before abandoning the car on Lexington and running away on foot. 

Apart from hitting the police officer, no one else was injured or killed.

"It’s amazing," Gardener said.

"You’re thankful for it because there’s a lot of people getting hurt nowadays," the onlooker said, "especially with whatever’s going on. You know the one time that nobody gets hurt you’re kind of glad for it."

Police are still searching for the suspect.