Driver crashes into landmark NYC arch; cop injured

The officer had been parked in front of the tourist attraction to protect it, police said


By Associated Press

NEW YORK — An intoxicated driver slammed into Washington Square Park's landmark marble arch on Sunday, injuring a police officer who was parked there to protect it, police said.

A Nissan Altima driven by 25-year-old Jeremy Molina, of Queens, crashed into the arch at the northern entrance to the Greenwich Village park shortly before 1:30 a.m., a police spokesperson said.

Pedestrians pass the arch in Washington Square park Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in New York.
Pedestrians pass the arch in Washington Square park Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Nissan then hit a police car that was parked near the arch, police said. The officer in the car was taken to a hospital with neck and back pain. The arch was not damaged.

Molina was arrested on charges including reckless endangerment, driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a breath test. It's not clear whether he has an attorney who could comment on the charges.

The arch, designed by architect Stanford White and installed in 1892, commemorates the centennial of George Washington’s 1789 inauguration as president.

It has been guarded by police officers since June, when its two statues of Washington were vandalized with red paint during weeks of protests against racial injustice.

It is a familiar sight to audiences of movies including “When Harry Met Sally" and is a popular tourist attraction.

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