Exclusive: Driver of SUV that crashed into library in Spring Valley speaks out

Several people were injured when a car drove into a library in Spring Valley, New York Tuesday evening.  (Photo courtesy @zishey)
Friday, May 30, 2014

The driver of a car that crashed into the Spring Valley library Tuesday night recounted the crash in an interview with Eyewitness News.

"What was going through your mind?", we asked. "Nothing. I told myself I was dead," said Jean Lycee.

He was not killed, but he is still sore from the crash. Miraculously, no one else was seriously hurt when his car smashed through the front of Finklestein Memorial Library.

Surveillance video shows the speeding car narrowly missed a girl outside, then demolished the front desk inside, pinning a 15year old girl and her aunt.

Exclusive cell phone video obtained by Eyewitness News shows the chaos afterward with people exiting the library, including one victim with blood on her face.

Inside someone crouched down to check on the teenager, who had to be extricated.

So what happened? The 58-year old driver says, and surveillance video shows, his Toyota Rav4 entered the parking lot slowly.

"My feet was on the brake and the car went 'wheee', and it flew on me," said Lycee.

The crash badly damaged the library, which is still closed. Lycee's car sits at the Spring Valley Police Department, where the investigation continues.

Police say the 15-year old who was pinned beneath the car likely survived because the crushed desk formed a void between her and the vehicle.

She has been released from the hospital, as was Jean Lycee, who's still feeling the effects.

"I feel like somebody beat me up all over with a stick. I'm sore now," Lycee said.

Six people, including the 15-year old girl, were injured in the crash.

No charges have been filed in the case at this point. Police are still looking into whether a mechanical problem caused the crash.

Moments after the SUV slammed through the entrance, Salomon Elassir taped dramatic cell phone video. The library's normal quiet was shattered by alarms, broken glass, alarms and frightened parents quickly getting their kids out of harm's way.



"When I went down a half a step, I saw people screaming a lot. I thought there was a fire there, but when I went down I saw the car," said Elassir.

The video shows the leg of the girl pinned beneath the car. Officials had to use airbags to pry the vehicle off the girl.

"I thought we'd been bombed, I thought it was a bomb," said library director Tracy Allen. "An hour earlier, we definitely would have had fatalities," said Allen.

Police do not suspect alcohol was involved and the driver has blamed the dangerous mishap on a mechanical malfunction.

"What the driver is saying is he believes that a recall on the car may have had something to do with this, as far as a the mechanical failure on the vehicle," Spring Valley police Lt. Jack Bosworth said.

The driver complained of chest pains after the crash.

Library officials plan to reopen the library Saturday; hours will be 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Related Topics:
news car into building child injured Spring Valley
(Copyright ©2014 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments