29-year-old critically injured by driver fleeing police in Bushwick

bushwick intersection
A 29-year-old woman was critically injured by a driver fleeing from police in Bushwick on Sunday.
Photo courtesy of Google Maps

A driver fleeing from police slammed into a civilian vehicle and critically injured a 29-year-old woman in Bushwick on Sunday in the second police-chase related casualty in the neighborhood this month.

According to the NYPD, a marked police car attempted to stop 32-year-old Juan Lopez in his Mercedes-Benz just before 5:30 a.m. on May 26. Lopez allegedly fled the scene and sped down Gates Avenue, reportedly with a police car chasing him close behind. 

Cops said the driver then blew through a red light at the intersection of Central Avenue and slammed into a Honda Pilot that was heading south on Central Avenue with the signal. The collision ejected 29-year-old Micah Dukes, who was riding in the backseat of the Honda, out of the vehicle and into the road.

police cars
Police chases are up under Mayor Eric Adams. Photo courtesy of Joi Ito/Wikimedia Commons

Dukes was rushed to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, where she remained in critical condition on Wednesday — though police initially reported she had died. The three other people riding in the Honda, including the driver, were not injured.

According to the New York Post, Dukes — an Albany resident – graduated from Hudson Valley Community College with an associate’s degree in Community and Public Health last year. In a statement on the school’s website, Dukes said she knew she “wanted to help people.”

“I wanted to work with marginalized communities, people dealing with mental health issues, low income, people of color, and I think this is a good start in terms of my career,” wrote Dukes, who also said she planned to pursue a bachelor’s degree in public health. “I just think it’s really important to help people improve the quality of their lives.”

After crashing into the Honda, Lopez lost control of his car, which mounted the curb and came to a stop. He was immediately arrested on multiple charges, including fleeing a police officer, reckless driving, driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of an incident. 

Police said Lopez had a blood alcohol level above the legal level of .08%, and refused to take a Breathalyzer test. 

The incident came weeks after a driver fleeing from police hit two pedestrians and killed one in Bushwick — just over half a mile away from the scene of Sunday’s crash. That crash drew criticism from safe streets advocates, who said police chases put bystanders at high risk of being injured or killed. 

“Driving any vehicle at high speeds puts everyone on the street at risk, and police chases are no exception,” safe streets group Transportation Alternatives wrote on X after the May 10 crash. “We need to ban police chases not just in policy but in practice.”

Police chases are up under Mayor Eric Adams, despite those risks. According to Streetsblog, the NYPD chased down nearly 600 drivers in the first quarter of 2024. 

Memorial Day weekend saw a number of scrapes between police and drivers in Brooklyn — on May 24, cops shot at the driver of an SUV after they hit and dragged a police officer while fleeing from a traffic stop, but were not able to stop the vehicle. Just hours before police first pulled Lopez over on May 26, two cops shot and killed a man they said threatened them with knives in Bushwick. On the same day, officers in an unmarked car hit an allegedly armed suspect during a chase in Brownsville.