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Queens, NY - Illegal Airport Pickup Ends In 7-Mile Cop Chase

Published on: June 24, 2009 08:02 AM
By:  NY Post
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Five French tourists were taken on a hair-raising, seven-mile "ride from hell" yesterday when an illegal van picked up the unsuspecting passengers at JFK Airport and raced through two boroughs to try to shake cops, authorities said. Here, NYPD and Port Authority officers draw their weapons during the confrontation.Five French tourists were taken on a hair-raising, seven-mile "ride from hell" yesterday when an illegal van picked up the unsuspecting passengers at JFK Airport and raced through two boroughs to try to shake cops, authorities said. Here, NYPD and Port Authority officers draw their weapons during the confrontation.

Queens, NY - Five French tourists were taken on a hair-raising, seven-mile “ride from hell” yesterday when an illegal van picked up the unsuspecting passengers at JFK Airport and raced through two boroughs to try to shake cops, authorities said.

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“We screamed and prayed the whole time we were in the van. God heard us. It was a miracle that we survived,” Esther-Ethy Mamane [Maimonides], 26, of Paris, said in French.

“I am shocked. The whole thing was quite bizarre. We were very frightened,” the still-shaken woman added. “It was like something from a film.”

Gwen Dulugat, 27, also from Paris, said the van—unauthorized to pick up passengers at the airport—took off with a “vroom” when Port Authority cops tried to prevent it from leaving.

“It went very, very fast. We’re going zoom, zoom, zoom,” she said, zigzagging her hand through the air.

One officer described the horrifying tour of Queens and Brooklyn as “the ride from hell.”

“The police were fantastic,” she added. “They were behind us all the time. And we were very lucky not to crash into any cars.”

The nightmare began about 11 a.m. when Esther and her mother, Claudie, 60, also a Parisian, and Gwen and her parents, Michele, 60 and Jean-Jacques, 62, who live near Bordeaux, got off an Air France flight.

A Port Authority source said Ian McFarland, 57—who was at JFK steering tourists to illegal vans—sent the two families to a vehicle driven by Khaalis Preacher, 27, at the Air France terminal.

PA cops recognized McFarland as a longtime “steerer” and Officer Michael Bestany reached inside the van to try to grab the keys, the source said.

The driver floored it, knocking Bestany to the ground.

With cops right behind, the driver roared west along the Belt Parkway and onto Linden Boulevard, forcing other cars to get out of the way.

It then snaked through residential streets, went in circles and crashed through the mechanical gate arm of a US Postal Service facility on Forbell Street in East New York.

Preacher and McFarland jumped out with the van still moving. It slammed into a postal truck.

Cops with guns drawn quickly arrested the two men.

Claudie Mamane injured her arm while trying to jump out while the van was still moving. She was treated at Jamaica Hospital. The four other tourists weren’t hurt.


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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 24, 2009 at 07:43 AM Anonymous Says:

I think I had the same taxi driver the other day in WM....only difference was I didn't have police chasing me...all the other details sound familiar

2

 Jun 24, 2009 at 09:30 AM NYCbuff Says:

great job as always to the NYPD.. i was monitoring the job..sounded very crazy.... -k-

3

 Jun 24, 2009 at 08:42 AM Anonymous Says:

JFK with so many cops, rules against standing, terrorist threats, etc. cant get these people out of the airport?? Yes, they reacted quickly but why let them in to begin with? They could just as easily been carrying a bomb in the van. Frankly, every van should be looked at before getting into the terminal area. A quick scan of the plate with an immediate hookup to the DMV computer system should tell them in less than 30 seconds whether the van is properly registered, the description matches the registratation, whether the owner has any warrants or tickets outstanding, etc.

4

 Jun 24, 2009 at 10:12 AM Aryeh Says:

My wife and I had the same thing happen on McDonald Ave. a few years ago, only it was the Russian mob chasing the driver. The next week, the cab company was ominously vacant. On another note, it just goes to show you how quickly the drivers could actually get you where you need to go with the right motivation...

5

 Jun 24, 2009 at 10:54 AM logic Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

JFK with so many cops, rules against standing, terrorist threats, etc. cant get these people out of the airport?? Yes, they reacted quickly but why let them in to begin with? They could just as easily been carrying a bomb in the van. Frankly, every van should be looked at before getting into the terminal area. A quick scan of the plate with an immediate hookup to the DMV computer system should tell them in less than 30 seconds whether the van is properly registered, the description matches the registratation, whether the owner has any warrants or tickets outstanding, etc.

Or they could just start arresting anyone that stands there calling out taxi.

6

 Jun 24, 2009 at 01:52 PM mendel Says:

the police obvisously know who it was, and they have the plates of the car. they could find him later, there was no urgent danger.

there was no need for a very dangerous chase which could have easily ended very badly for totally innocent strangers.

I'm shocked the police would do this. it's irresponsible.

7

 Jun 24, 2009 at 03:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
mendel Says:

the police obvisously know who it was, and they have the plates of the car. they could find him later, there was no urgent danger.

there was no need for a very dangerous chase which could have easily ended very badly for totally innocent strangers.

I'm shocked the police would do this. it's irresponsible.

mendel don't be ridiculous, if a suspicious car races off from the airport, knocking a policeman down in the process, do you actually think the NYPD is going to just say, "Oh, we'll get 'em later"???

8

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