Sept. 26, 2023 Staff Report – Updated at 4:27 p.m.
Wild video footage has been posted online showing police chasing a reckless sports car driver in Astoria as he dangerously runs through red lights, speeds down one-way streets and races across the RFK Bridge before barreling along motorway shoulders in the Bronx, reaching speeds of up to 170 km/hr (105 mph).
The eight-minute-long video, which was posted to YouTube on Sept. 21 by the user “sean sean,” has generated nearly 250,000 views. It shows split screen dash cam footage from an Infiniti Q50 fleeing from police earlier this month.
A separate video posted by the popular YouTuber “Fanum Live” commentating on the alarming police chase video has amassed more than 40,000 views.
The Infiniti driver, according to a Queens/Astoria Post source, is a member of a group called the “swimteam” that record themselves taking part in daredevil-like driving around the city and then post the dramatic content to YouTube and social media channels. They appear to bait police into a chase in order to capture the high-octane footage of them evading law enforcement — and appear one step away from a catastrophic crash.
An Instagram page with the username “seansean” contains a clip of the high-speed Astoria chase, as well as other speed-related videos. An Instagram page with the username @john_freezh, which appears to show the driver of the Infiniti, also has clips of the police chase while the group uses the instant messaging app Discord to discuss their daring escapades.
The viral video of the Astoria incident begins by showing the Infiniti driver — who goes by the username “@johnnyboy__” according to the video’s description — apparently being stopped by an unmarked, dark-colored Ford police car at the corner of 21st Street and Astoria Boulevard. The top half of the screen shows the Infiniti driver’s view while the bottom half of the screen shows the rear view from the car.
The Infiniti driver, who appears to be a male judging by some commentary in the video, looks to be pulling over for the cops but he then hits the gas and runs a red light before turning right onto 21st Street and flooring it. He races northbound on 21st Street along a bus lane as the police car with flashing lights can be seen in the rear dashcam in hot pursuit.
The driver races through the streets of Astoria, weaving in and out of traffic lanes, and on several occasions, pedestrians walking on crosswalks can be seen dashing to sidewalks in order to avoid being hit. A speedometer in the center of the video shows the driver hitting speeds of up to 106 km/hr (66 mph) as he blitzes around the narrow, built-up streets of Astoria, oftentimes hurtling over speed bumps.
The Infiniti driver also races on the wrong side of the road in an attempt to escape police and on one occasion, he nearly plows into a moped rider who can be heard beeping his horn as the sports car flies by with its engine roaring.
The Infiniti driver continues his escapade traveling eastbound on 24th Avenue before he swings right onto southbound 31st Avenue while almost hitting a woman. He then turns right again, onto Hoyte Avenue North, before he speeds onto the RFK Bridge with police still giving chase.
After a little more than three minutes, the video cuts to the Infiniti held up in heavy traffic on the Bruckner Expressway in the Bronx heading northbound and then passing alongside an NYPD Ford Cruiser that quickly joins the chase.
Now taking even more risks, the Infiniti driver barrels up the narrow shoulder with barely enough room, passing dozens of vehicles on its left-hand side as the speedometer clocks 126 km/hr (78 mph). The driver then knocks over an orange and white traffic drum as “+10 points” flashes across the screen.
He then attempts to squeeze up the inside of a yellow school bus but doesn’t have enough room and appears to collide with the vehicle, leading to “+100 points” popping up on the screen.
The unmarked police car soon catches up with the Infiniti and then bumps into it in an attempt to stop it in its tracks but fails.
With the motorway narrowed due to construction work and the Infiniti approaching a fork in the road, the Infiniti driver heads north along Sheridan Boulevard while a yellow cab unknowingly blocks off the police vehicles – buying the Infiniti driver time to escape.
The footage then shows the sportscar going at breakneck speed of up to 170 km/hr (105 mph) before he makes a U-turn onto southbound W Farms Road in the Bronx. He then races down several streets and blows through more red lights before the video comes to an end.
The NYPD told the Queens/Astoria Post after the publication of the story that the police were attempting to conduct a car stop of the Infiniti at the corner of 21st Street and Astoria Boulevard on Sept. 14 at around 5:30 p.m. due to it having a suspected stolen license plate.
“Upon attempting to conduct a car stop of a gray Infiniti, the vehicle fled driving recklessly and committing multiple driving infractions, creating a risk to members of the public,” a police spokesperson said. “There is no arrest at this time and the investigation is ongoing.”
The chase sparked debate on Reddit where one poster, who claimed to be one of the pedestrians in Astoria who had to run to avoid being hit, weighed in on the experience.
“My partner and I literally were almost run over by this car at 24th [Avenue] and 31st, as they were heading east on 24th and we were crossing the street,” the poster wrote.
The video also starts with a strange disclaimer warning viewers about the risks involved to anyone looking to replicate the high-stakes chase.
“Everything you see in this video is not real and was rendered using unreal engine 5,” the disclaimer reads. “Do not attempt to re-create or mimic in real life, as it will lead to imprisonment, serious bodily injuries and possibly death.”