NEW YORK -- The unbalanced woman who told cops she “prayed to God” while plowing into seven pedestrians at a Midtown Manhattan intersection was charged with multiple counts of attempted murder, police said Tuesday.
Imani Lucas, 29, also facing charges of assault, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident, was wearing a gray T-shirt emblazoned with the words “good vibes” when taken into custody.
She faces one count of attempted murder for each person she allegedly struck after driving her Honda through a red light at Sixth Ave. and W. 36th St. just north of Macy’s Herald Square about 11:55 p.m. Sunday.
“She said she was hearing voices,” said the woman’s mother Melissa Lucas in an interview with Gothamist, adding her daughter suffers from bipolar disorder. “She is on medication and she, as far as we know, said she was taking her medication. This episode coming on all of a sudden, I don’t know what to think.”
The suspect slammed into six men and a woman in the crosswalk, including an Italian couple on a honeymoon tour of the U.S., according to the Italian-language publication La Voce di New York.
The couple was identified as Giulia Gardani, a 34-year-old tennis instructor from Piacenza, and her husband Matteo Maj, a 51-year-old graphic designer. They were rushed to Bellevue Hospital along with two other victims, including a 28-year-old man who suffered a head injury and two broken legs in the crash.
A 32-year-old male victim was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell, where he was in stable condition. Two other victims declined medical attention, cops said.
Police believe Lucas was in the throes of a mental crisis. She was briefly hospitalized before being taken to a Midtown precinct stationhouse to be charged.
After being led out of the Midtown South Precinct stationhouse in handcuffs Tuesday, Lucas was expected to be brought to another hospital before her arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, a police source said.
“I just prayed to God,” she told cops as she was taken into custody, according to a police source. “And I closed my eyes when I went through there.”
Lucas said she lived in New Jersey but police said her last known address was on the Upper West Side.
Her victims, who range in age between 24 to 60, were crossing Sixth Ave. with the walk light when they were struck, cops said.
Lucas continued east and fled through the Midtown Tunnel but by then police had a description of her car and the license plate number.
Once in Queens, she continued east on the Long Island Expressway and struck two vehicles near the Horace Harding Expressway and 188th St., about 11 miles from the scene in Midtown.
Police saw that her plate matched the one on the Accord involved in the Manhattan crash and took her into custody. She tested negative for alcohol.
The drivers she struck in Queens declined medical attention.
With Harry Parker and Ellen Moynihan