A reporter walking to work heard a couple of thuds, the sound of broken glass,muffled shouts and screams.
While some bystanders rushed to help the injured, others stood in silence, dazed for a moment before people started crying or shouting for help.
By then the car was gone, leaving behind a trail of wounded bodies on the sidewalk, with several victims bleeding from the knees, hips and elbows.
One young womanâ€™s body, twisted and lifeless, lay face down. Beside her was a New York state license plate and a side mirror that broke off from the car, a police officer at the scene said.
That 18-year-old woman was killed and 22 more were injured including the dead victimâ€™s 13-year-old sister, officials said.
â€œThey mowed everyone down,â€ said an unidentified girl out shopping with her mother, Cheryl Howard, who had blood dripping down her right arm and a swollen bruise above her left eye.
The carâ€™s driver and lone occupant, a 26-year-old man from New York Cityâ€™s Bronx borough, was in custody, and police said there was no immediate indication of terrorism. But witnesses all agreed: The act was intentional.
â€œHe was aiming for people,â€ Howard said. â€œIt hit everybody on the block,â€ said another witness, Michael Elias, 31. â€œHaving almost been hit, I was pretty scared.â€
Another witness, who would only identify himself as Andrew, said the driver was â€œaiming for as many people as he could possibly get. â€¦ It was very bloody, very disturbing.â€
Amid the havoc, there was at least one affirming moment, as recounted by a pregnant 38-year-old teacher from Baltimore who would only give her last name, Martin.
â€œA man pulled me out of the way of the car,â€ she said. â€œI think he saved my life.â€