Sept, 27, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A driver who was being carjacked by a fleeing shoplifter in Kew Gardens Hills Monday ended up plowing his car into a KFC restaurant while trying to stave off the theft of his car.
The victim, a 57-year-old man, was sitting in his parked Nissan sedan on Parsons Boulevard near 79th Avenue at around 2 p.m. when Robert Savoia, 57, attempted to carjack him, according to police.
Savoia, police said, had just robbed the nearby Rite Aid branch at 158-02 Union Turnpike of around $1,200 in stolen goods and was fleeing police who had been called to the scene.
Savoia, who is homeless, opened the driver’s door of the Nissan and jumped inside. Both men wrestled for control of the car before the driver hit the gas causing the car to accelerate forward.
The car then mounted the sidewalk and smashed into the front of the KFC restaurant at 158-05 Union Tpke. It narrowly missed a bus stop shelter.
Video footage posted online shows Savoia being tackled on the ground by police at the scene of the crash. The driver could be seen bloodied, walking out of the car and telling police Savoia told him he was armed.
“He got a knife in his hand,” the driver said. “He said he had a gun.”
The driver and Savoia were both taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition. Police did not provide further details about the extent of their injuries.
Savoia was arrested and charged with robbery, grand larceny, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.
Olga Valarezo, a witness who was in her own vehicle at the time of the incident, told CBS New York that she saw the crime unfold.
“I heard the cops screaming and the guy came speeding up all the way and crashed into the KFC,” Valarezo said.
She said she moved her vehicle out of harm’s way just as the Nissan approached.
“He … missed me by a second,” Valarezo said. “He could have hit me since I was like right there, so I just heard it and I moved.”
Person Critically Injured After Car Crashed Into Kentucky Fried Chicken @CitizenApp
7909 Parsons Blvd Yesterday 2:17:17 PM EDT