Driver whose New Year's vehicular rampage in midtown Manhattan left nine people injured now indicted on dozens of criminal charges

 February 2, 2024

In the early morning hours of January 1, just blocks away and less than two hours after the ball dropped in New York City's Times Square to begin the New Year, a driver in midtown Manhattan went on a vehicular rampage that caused substantial property damage and left at least nine people suffering various injuries.

Now a month later, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has announced that a grand jury handed down a criminal indictment that includes more than two dozen felony counts against the 44-year-old driver, Mohamed Alaouie, AMNY reported.

The incident involved Alaouie speeding in the wrong direction on a one-way street as well as on sidewalks in a futile effort to evade police officers in the crowded section of the city, during which he recklessly struck several other vehicles, food carts, buildings, and pedestrians, causing extensive damage and injuries to his victims, some more severe than others.

Indicted on dozens of criminal charges

In a Tuesday press release announcing the indictment of Alaouie, Manhattan DA Bragg said in a statement, "This defendant allegedly careened through packed sidewalks and streets during the busiest time of the year in midtown. His recklessness endangered the lives of countless New Yorkers and visitors who were ringing in the New Year."

"I hope the victims can fully recover from their injuries and thank the police officers who were on the scene to apprehend this individual," the prosecutor added.

Alaouie, 44, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, now faces a total of 26 felony charges and two misdemeanors, including 18 counts of assault in either the first or second degree, three counts of second-degree vehicular assault, and one count each of first-degree vehicular assault, aggravated vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and second degree.

Alaouie's reckless vehicular rampage

According to court documents, eyewitness accounts, and an initial report from the day after the incident from WABC, Alaouie's destructive and injurious criminal rampage began around 1:30 am on January 1 when bystanders observed him in a black Mercedes assaulting his unidentified girlfriend and alerted nearby police officers to intervene.

When officers approached the vehicle, however, the suspect threw it into reverse and drove backward along a sidewalk, striking at least one of dozens of people who dove out of his way, before then driving north on a southbound-only street and then turning onto another street only to find himself blocked by traffic as officers pursued him on foot.


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The driver backed out of that jam and struck several other vehicles as he once again drove along a sidewalk, this time also hitting a large food cart and injuring at least three more individuals, at least one of whom was seriously hurt and hospitalized after being trapped under the toppled trailer.

Alaouie's rampage didn't end there, though, as he continued back onto another street and struck several other vehicles and people, including at least one pursuing officer, before his damaged and disabled Mercedes finally came to a halt and he was taken into custody.

Appears to have dodged attempted murder charges

According to court documents, a search of the wrecked car uncovered at least 16 glass vials of crack cocaine, and two more vials were found on the suspect the next day at the hospital, which led to the two felony drug charges plus one misdemeanor count of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation.

It is unclear how much time in prison Alaouie could face if convicted of all of the charges against him, and it seems unlikely that he will be granted leniency by prosecutors and the courts, given that the New York Post reported that he has an extensive criminal record that includes at least 10 prior arrests for the possession of illicit drugs and stolen property.

Alaouie should also consider himself lucky that the most serious charges he faces in the grand jury indictment are the multiple assault counts, as the Post noted that he had initially been charged by the police with attempted murder of an officer because of his apparent effort to run over the officers who tried to arrest him during his attempted escape.

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