On Monday morning, a man driving a rented U-Haul truck slammed into numerous people on sidewalks, bike lanes, and roadways in two Brooklyn neighborhoods, leaving one person dead and eight others injured. Investigators are still trying to discover the cause of the mayhem.
The 62-year-old driver, currently held by police, is thought to be responsible for the perplexing rampage across the borough’s Bay Ridge and Sunset Park districts.
Even though the motivation is still unknown, the NYPD commissioner indicated that there is no evidence to support any participation of terrorism in what she called a “violent rampage.”
Later on Monday night, a 44-year-old individual passed away, according to two law enforcement officers. One of the eight other injured people required critical care. All patients, along with a member of the NYPD, were transported to NYC Langone in Brooklyn.
Before going north into Sunset Park, police could trace the beginning of the driver’s spree back to Bay Ridge, at 5th Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway. Initial reports said the truck veered onto sidewalks while being pursued by police.
The risk the driver posed to anyone on or near the road Monday morning was only partially caught by security cameras. A moped rider was shown on video whirling after being clipped by the truck.
A cyclist was struck and run over by the U-Haul truck as it was seen on surveillance footage traveling up 4th Avenue near 55th Street and swerving into the bike lane without signaling its impending move.
Although the vehicle did not appear to be slowing down, the second rider in front of it seemed to see what was happening and move out of the way.
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The motorist attempted to run over other bikers in the video but could not do so. The driver then drove off down 4th Avenue.
In another video, a pedestrian on the sidewalk jumps out of the way just in time to avoid being entirely struck by the truck as it races down the road with a police cruiser hot on its heels. The NYPD has provided a timeline of what happened on Monday until the suspect was finally apprehended:
- 10:17 a.m.: A 36-year-old man is struck by the driver of a U-Haul truck in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, at 4th Avenue and 55th Street. The victim’s leg was wounded, but the hospital said he was stable.
- 10:29 a.m.: a 34-year-old male was hurt to his chest in Bay Ridge at 5th Avenue and Senator Street. He is anticipated to recover after being brought to the hospital.
- 10:31 am.: A 30-year-old male was struck near Bay Ridge Parkway and 7th Avenue. He had leg injuries, according to the police, but is expected to recover.
- 10:36 a.m.: Near Bay Ridge Parkway and 12th Avenue, a truck struck a 51-year-old male, causing brain injuries. Police reported that he was recovering at the hospital after being taken there.
- 10:48 a.m.: Near Bay Ridge Parkway and Fifth Avenue, a 44-year-old male was struck with severe head injuries. Later, he passed away at a hospital.
- 10:50 a.m.: Near Bay Ridge Parkway and 7th Avenue, another man was hit. With ankle injuries, the 38-year-old was brought to the hospital.
- 11:05 a.m.: In Bay Ridge, two people were struck: a 32-year-old man and a 33-year-old police officer. Both men were expected to recover despite the officer’s knee injuries and the other man’s head and chest traumas.
- 11:05 a.m.: The 66-year-old victim, struck near 73rd Street and 3rd Avenue, was the closest casualty. After suffering neck and knee injuries, he is anticipated to be well.
The truck with Arizona license plates and its driver were surrounded by the NYPD at 11:30 a.m. on a corner between Red Hook and Carroll Gardens. Without incident, the driver was taken to jail.
The truck was checked for potential explosives while parked on the sidewalk against a police car. According to NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell on Monday afternoon, this stop was one of seven separate locations in Brooklyn that were examined for possible evidence.
Weng Sor, age 62, was recognized as the driver by top law enforcement officers. After hiring the vehicle from Daytona Beach on January 23 and likely driving it throughout the county, he had come back to the region.
Earlier this month, Sor was detained in South Carolina for reckless driving, according to a senior law enforcement officer, and released on bail. It’s possible that he was residing in the vehicle.
At the time of his arrest, Sor allegedly told arresting officers he wanted to die. A senior law enforcement official told News 4 that Sor said in a statement that he “only ran over bad people — not good people.” The official added that Sor had not taken the medication he should have been on.
The suspect driver attempted to visit with their estranged family while in Brooklyn, but he was still having mental health problems. According to a representative, Sor allegedly screamed and acted erratically on the street when police were called in 2019.
NBC New York was informed by sources that Sor’s family claimed he has emotional problems and has served time in jail but has never been a radical or religious extremist.
Given that Sor could be charged with attempted murder, two authorities stated that the Brooklyn district attorney’s office would handle the prosecution.
Weng Sor’s son, Stephen Sor, 30, told the Associated Press that his father had a history of mental illness and had been living in Las Vegas, where records indicate he had been convicted and sentenced for several violent crimes, including stabbing his brother. Stephen Sor said his father had a history of mental illness.
“Very frequently, he’ll choose to skip out on his medications and do something like this,” Stephen Sor said in an interview outside his Brooklyn home. “This isn’t the first time he’s been arrested. It’s not the first time he’s gone to jail.”
According to Stephen Sor, Weng Sor unexpectedly arrived in Brooklyn in the middle of the night about a week ago. He claimed they didn’t communicate frequently, and their bond was “rocky.”
“I try just to distance, as long as he leaves us alone,” Stephen Sor said.
According to court and prison records, Weng Sor stabbed his brother in Las Vegas in 2015 and spent roughly 17 months behind bars in Nevada. He used a knife to attack someone in the arm and chest in 2020, receiving a 364-day county jail term, with around 10 months already served.
According to court records, Sor was evaluated at state psychiatric hospitals for several months before entering a guilty plea in that case before being deemed competent to stand trial. The documents mention that Sor was given medication but did not provide a potential diagnosis.
In a previous case in Nevada, Sor was sentenced to community service and therapy after entering a guilty plea to criminal violence in 2005. Sor had to submit a mental health evaluation after moving to New York, as the judge had indicated at the time.
Hours later, the truck was hauled away from the crime scene. According to Jeff Lockridge, a spokesman for U-Haul, Sor had produced a legitimate driver’s license and paid for a 30-day rental upfront. According to Lockridge, U-Haul has no record of Sor having previously rented a vehicle from them.
While investigators work to determine a possible motive behind the vehicular assaults, the mayor’s office issued a statement to assure the public there were no additional credible threats following the driver’s arrest.
“We have no idea of motives at this time, but this wasn’t an accident,” Councilman Justin Brannan, who represents Red Hook, tweeted.
Additionally, Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she had been updated on the developing situation and would work with the NYPD as necessary.
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) February 13, 2023
The devastation upended the late-morning routine and immediately brought to mind other car attacks on bicyclists and pedestrians in the densely populated city, such as the deadly 2017 attack by a terrorist that claimed the lives of eight people on a Manhattan bike path and the 2017 Times Square carnage that claimed the lives of one person and injured 20 others.
A jury deliberated on Saipov’s potential death sentence on Monday; the two incidents are not thought to be connected.
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For almost 4 years, Jason Martin has been a freelance writer for newspapers, journals, blogs, books, and online material. He covers the most recent news as well as many other topics.