Hanukkah party crash driver will not be charged, police say
- Story Highlights
- NEW: "It was just an accident," Nassau County police spokeswoman says
- 14 people hospitalized after man, 76, lost control of vehicle; 4 in serious condition
- Driver released from hospital, has yet to make a public statement
- Rabbi, wife express thanks for support, hope for speedy recoveries
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Charges will not be filed against a 76-year-old man who lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a building where a Hanukkah celebration was under way, police in Long Island, New York, said Friday.
"There's no criminality, it was just an accident," said Nassau County Police Officer Joan Eames, adding that the cause of the crash remained under investigation.
Fourteen people were hospitalized -- some with severe injuries -- Thursday afternoon after Theodore Saretsky plowed into a Woodmere, New York, storefront where Chabad of the Five Towns was holding its Hanukkah Wonderland event, police said. About 150 people were at the celebration.
Saretsky, who was among those injured, did not immediately respond to calls from CNN, and he has not made a public statement. Mercy Medical Center said he was released from the hospital Thursday night.
Police said his vehicle hit a parked car before going through the storefront.
Hospitals in the area reported receiving adults and children, including two children who were listed in serious condition. Two other people were in serious condition as well, police said.
The Chabad event included menorah- and dreidel-making activities for children, according to the group's Web site.
"We appreciate and are comforted by the tremendous outpouring of support," said the group's director, Rabbi Zalman Wolowik and his wife, Chanie, in a statement posted on the Web site.
"At this time, all information points to this being an unfortunate incident, wherein a car accidentally crashed through the building housing our community's family Hanukkah celebration," the statement says.
It adds, "As we are in the midst of celebrating the holiday of Hanukkah, may we merit to celebrate the miraculous and speedy recovery of all who are injured."
Heshey Jacob, president of the Hatzolah Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, said the vehicle went through a tent in the front of the building where children were playing, and then on to the back of the store.
Thirteen victims were initially transported to hospitals, he said, including one who was taken by air to Nassau County Medical Center. Another child, traumatized by the accident, was taken to a hospital later.
Other than the driver, the injured ranged in age from 18 months to 40 years old, police said.