An allegedly out-of-control speeder being pursued by police in Cape May County left five people hurt -- including one innocent bystander without a leg -- after he crashed his 2003 Nissan Altima into another vehicle and a bus shelter last week.
On Thursday it was revealed that he was allegedly driving under the influence. He now faces additional charges that could land him in prison for up to a decade.
It all started around 10:30 a.m. on March 29 when an officer clocked the Altima going about 120 mph on Wildwood Boulevard (Route 47) in Wildwood, N.J., according to police.
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Cops tried to catch the silver car northbound on Route 47 but the driver, 36-year-old Anthony Friel of the 200-block of Matthews Avenue, was going so fast that the officer had trouble keeping up and lost sight of the car, authorities said.
Friel drove a little more than three miles, crossed Richardson Sound on Route 47 and entered Rio Grande where he lost control of his vehicle crashing into a truck hauling glass and a bus shelter outside a shopping center at Wildwood Boulevard and 5th Street, police said.
"It hit so loud -- it jolted my body," said witness Mike Williamson.
Three innocent bystanders were airlifted to AtlanticCare Regional Medical Center - City Division. Two others were being treated at Cape Regional Medical Centers, authorities confirm.
A 37-year-old man waiting inside the NJ Transit bus shelter was badly hurt. His leg was severed and his other leg severely injured, according to reports.
“I see the guy laying on the ground and they got him covered up and all I could see was his feet and they were completely turned sideways and he had this gray, pale look like he was just in shock,” said witness Stephanie Hudson.
Friel jumped out of the car and fled the scene even running through a local store, but was caught a short time later by police and taken to the hospital for minor injuries, authorities said.
An investigation after the crash revealed that Friel was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the wreck, according to the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office.
Friel was originally charged with eluding police with a motor vehicle and various other offenses. On Thursday second-degree aggravated assault by auto and third-degree leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident charges were added.
The second-degree charges carry punishments of five to 10 years, according to prosecutor Robert Taylor.
The suspect remains in prison unable to post $50,000 cash bail.
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