6 injured when SUV fleeing police hits Staten Island house: ‘I thought it was an earthquake’

NEW YORK — Six people were injured when a police chase ended in a crash early Thursday morning on Staten Island.

Police say an SUV was fleeing from officers when it slammed into a house around 3:30 a.m. on Van Duzer Street in Stapleton Heights.

Neighbor Joana Dawe told CBS2 she was sleeping in her home, which is connected to the one that was hit.

“I was sweating and the bed shook, there was a loud bang, the door opened. At first I thought it was an earthquake, but then I smelled smoke and I heard people screaming,” she told CBS.

There were nine people inside the two houses and six were slightly injured.

“We were sleeping at 3 a.m. And then suddenly we heard like an explosion, a big explosion,” said resident Frank Richeta, adding it was lucky no one was seriously injured.

Surveillance video from across the street shows the SUV speeding around a bend, trying to get away from police, before the driver lost control. The police were right behind and were able to arrest the suspect.

“I had to call 911 and say, ‘I don’t know what happened, but I can’t get out of my house, my smoke detector is going off and there are people screaming'”, Dawe said.

The front of Dawe’s house was blocked and his daughter said they had to wait for help to get out.

“Firefighters came in the back door, then got us out the back door, and we went up the outside stairs,” Amelia Sanders said.

The SUV bounced off the building, then came to a stop in front of a guardrail. The front of the house was shattered and it had to be evacuated as the building department works to ensure people can safely return inside.

Police say the suspect, Michael Robles, 38, was first arrested for a broken tail light and officers noticed a crack pipe inside the vehicle. He now faces multiple charges.

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