The vehicle crashed into the Knights of Columbus building, which is also home to one of this newspaper's offices, and the Maspeth Supermarket & Deli at 69-60 and 69-62 Grand Avenue, respectively, at about 2:48 A.M., said a police spokesperson.
The spokesperson said that an auto investigation squad was initially contacted because the source was deemed “likely” to die. The request was then canceled and the victim, Corey Ruth, 20, of Middle Village, was admitted to Elmhurst Hospital Center.
The police spokesperson also said that neither drug nor alcohol use is suspected in the case as a cause of the accident.
According to a representative at Elmhurst Hospital, Ruth was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit in critical condition. He sustained multiple injuries, including to the head, and was put into a medically induced coma, but the spokesperson said Ruth was “heading in the right direction.”
A source at St. Adalbert Church in Elmhurst, where Ruth and his family are parishioners, said Ruth went to McClancey High School and used to play basketball for the church's Catholic Youth Organization league.
Jamal Zokari was working the late shift at the deli, which is open 24 hours, when the car hit the buildings. He thought it was a shooting at first because of the big crashing sound and the way the building shook.
Just two minutes earlier, he had sold someone a pack of cigarettes through the front window, which was shattered by the impact.
“If he had come a little bit later that would have been me that was killed,” said Zokari.
Zokari said Ruth’s face was so damaged and bloodied that he couldn’t see one of his eyes. He also said there was someone sitting in the passenger seat, a skinny Caucasian male.
“He was only scratched a little bit,” said Zokari. “He got out and ran. Do you believe that?”