The 51-year-old man who crashed into a western Sydney hijab shop will face court on Saturday after being charged with a string of driving offences.
NSW Police said the Greenacre man was re-arrested on Friday before being hit with a number of charges related to Thursday’s crash which injured 14 people.
He has been charged with driving furiously in a motor vehicle causing bodily harm, reckless driving, negligent driving, proceeding through a red traffic light and failing to notify authorities of a change of residential address.
The man was also charged with driving recklessly and not giving his details to another driver in relation to an unrelated traffic incident at Lakemba on January 14.
NSW Police said emergency services were called to Boronia Road, in Western Sydney, at 3.15pm on Thursday after reports of a car crash.
A Mitsubishi SUV crashed into a vehicle stopped at traffic lights before careering into the clothing shop.
The driver was trapped in the car and had to be freed, while 14 people – mainly women – were injured in the incident.
The 51-year-old driver was questioned by detectives at Bankstown Police Station after undergoing mandatory drug and alcohol testing but was allowed to return home on Thursday night.
The man was re-arrested on Friday by police at a home on Wangee Road in Greenacre.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said officers were still investigating.
“There’s still any number of inquiries going on in relation to that incident,” he said.
Authorities are appealing for witnesses and drivers with dashcam footage to come forward.
Video shot by bystanders at the scene on Thursday appeared to show the 4WD with smoke billowing from its bonnet pushing into a car in front of it stopped at traffic lights.
Suddenly the vehicle accelerated across the crowded intersection and ploughed into the store.
In an Instagram post, Hijab House owner Tarik Houchar said the shop was “completely destroyed”.
“Greenacre is the heartland of the [Sydney] Muslim community, it’s where hijab fashion is basically concentrated,” he said.
“To see it in that state was … incredibly shocking.”
Mr Houchar said there were about 13 customers and two staff in the shop at the time of the crash, including his own sister.
Mr Houchar became emotional as he described how his sister was “a few centimetres away from potential death”.
He said it was a “blessing” nobody was seriously hurt – in pre-pandemic times, the shop is usually bustling ahead of Ramadan.
A doctor who worked at a medical centre a few doors away from store said someone had lunged at the driver after the crash.
“The driver was sitting there, I think he was in shock, and then another gentlemen went to punch him, but [people] stopped him,” Nafi Musa said.
A spokesperson for NSW Ambulance said paramedics were “met with a very chaotic scene” when they arrived.
“There was a large crowd of bystanders who were quite distressed by what occurred,” the spokesperson said.
All 14 people injured were taken to hospital, but none of them were in a critical condition.
The most serious injury sustained in the crash was was a broken ankle.
All people injured have since been discharged from hospital.