Monday, April 20, 2009

Bungled Attempt to Avoid Payment of Parking Fee Sends Man to Hospital

SUV plunges from NYC garage, lands on nearby roof

Published - Apr 20 2009 06:01PM CST

Parking garage attendants said a non-English speaking man tried to explain to the exit cashier that he did not have sufficent money to pay his parking fee of $18.50. He attempted to pay with what was believed to be Kenyan currency, but might have been Nigerian or Chilean bank notes, or possibly monopoly money. When the attendant refused to accept the foreign currency and refused to raise the gate, the man became agitated and backed up the exit ramp in reverse, almost colliding with a descending hearse.

He then began to drive aimlessly and erratically through the 18 floor garage, whistling the theme song from South Pacific and almost causing at least 3 other accidents during his 4 hour drive tour of the garage.

When attendants tried to get the man to stop and work something out, he accelerated at high speed and crashed the recent model white Mercedes Benz SUV, with saddle colored leather interior, burled walnut trim, matching capeting, telescoping steering column, and equipped with raised letter Michelin tyres, a Bose sound system and a built-in GPS positioning system, though a 6th floor glass window in the E. 17th street parking garage and plunged three stories onto a neighboring roof with the driver inside.

Several employees from inside the building came out on the roof and asked the bloodied driver for autographs. When the man requested payment of $50 for each autograph, he was pelted with small stones gathered from the roof, accompanied with shouts of "America, Love It or Leave It."

Police later said the driver had been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after the accident around 4 p.m. Monday. It was not immediately known what caused the accident.

Officers were trying to remove the SUV from the roof but were having difficulty trying to squeeze it down the narrow stairway. One officer was crushed when the vehicle shifted and pinned him to a wall.

Doug MacArthur reporting from Hiroshima.

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