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Copyright 2005 Newsday, Inc.

</IMG>Newsday (New York)

August 24, 2005 Wednesday
ALL EDITIONS
NEWS; Pg. A08
471 words
From rage to rampage;
Cops: Motorist crashes into 6 people and drags an officer after heated dispute in midtownBY LUIS PEREZ AND PETE BOWLES. STAFF WRITERS; Freelance writers Jerome Burdi and Marlene Naanes contributed to this story.

What began as road rage turned into several terrifying moments yesterday when an out-of-control sport utility vehicle raced onto a sidewalk in midtown and slammed into six people.

The six suffered minor injuries, as did a police lieutenant whose arm had become caught in the driver's window and was dragged along for the bumpy two-block ride. The vehicle slammed into a car, jumped the curb, hit two pedestrians and barreled into a concrete barrier where four people were sitting in front of 1411 Broadway between 39th and 40th streets.

The driver then jumped out of the car and ran away before being stopped by a building superintendent and other officers who joined the chase, police said.

"He just plowed into the whole crowd," said George Kythreotis, 30, a Mr. Softee truck driver who witnessed the incident several blocks south of Times Square.

The driver of the SUV, Hugo Palamino, 51, of White Plains, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of assault, leaving the scene of an accident with injury and possession of a controlled substance - a white powder that police said appeared to be cocaine. The lieutenant and six people were treated at hospitals.

The chaos began after Palamino and another motorist stopped their cars at 41st Street and Broadway at 2:30 p.m. and began shouting at each other about their driving skills, halting traffic at the congested intersection.

When the lieutenant walked over to see what was happening, the other motorist drove off, leaving Palamino, who had gotten out of his SUV, steaming at the scene. The officer asked to see his license and registration.

Police said the officer noticed a small bag of white powder fall out of Palamino's wallet. Palamino then climbed back into his car and sped off, along with a female passenger, identified as Victoria Chason, 21, of Manhattan.

A police spokesman said the SUV fled with the lieutenant's arm wedged in the driver's window. The officer hung on as the SUV raced south on Broadway, jumped the curb and slammed into the concrete barrier, police said.

Palamino jumped out of the car and ran away, and was caught at Sixth Avenue and 39th Street by other officers and the superintendent.

"He jumped out of the car and this guy was chasing him," said Kythreotis, referring to the building superintendent. "He pulled the shirt off him and chased him down the block."

Nina Dancu, 38, a secretary who lives in the neighborhood, said she heard Chason screaming for Palamino to stop the SUV before it hit the barrier where the four people were sitting.

"It just rammed into them," she said. "They weren't moving. The cop was just hanging from the door."

Chason also was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. The substance is to be analyzed at a police lab.

Freelance writers Jerome Burdi and Marlene Naanes contributed to this story.
 
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