Suffolk police have arrested a man they say drove his vehicle into a 32-year-old man he had argued with at a Wyandanch gas station, striking a gas pump and igniting an inferno on New Year’s Day.
Maleek Ward, 18, was arrested Saturday on weapons and assault charges in two separate incidents, including when he allegedly struck the man with his car after a verbal altercation at the BP station on Straight Path on Jan. 1, police said.
Ward, of 12 Pine St., was arrested about 7 p.m. Saturday, after a pair of First Precinct officers on patrol noticed a 2010 Honda parked at the end of Pine Street and saw somebody inside they suspected was smoking marijuana, police said.
Ward, in the back seat, had a loaded and defaced 9 mm pistol, police said. For that incident, he faces charges of second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana possession.
In the gas station incident, he was charged with second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal mischief, police said.
Gas station surveillance footage showed at least five people arguing, including Ward and the victim, whose name was not released, said First Precinct Det. Sgt. John Pizzurro.
The footage showed Ward’s car backing up, then accelerating forward quickly, striking the victim and then the gas pump, police said. Moments after the 2:20 a.m. gas station crash, ShotSpotter technology detected gunfire in the area, police said.
The victim was treated at a hospital and released. Pizzurro said he did not know the details of the injuries, except that the victim was not burned.
“The video shows an altercation occurred at the gas station and it escalated to the point where the assailant got behind the wheel of a vehicle and struck our victim and upon striking the victim, he also struck a gas pump,” said Pizzurro, who said the resulting blaze cost “thousands of dollars” in damage. The fire was extinguished and no one else was injured.
The victim immediately fled the scene, but contacted police the next day, Pizzurro said. It was then, Pizzurro said, that “we were able to develop information on who was responsible.”
Ward is scheduled to be arraigned today at First District Court in Central Islip.
He is the son of Terrance Ward, who was arrested by Suffolk police on Jan. 1 in Wyandanch on weapons charges, Pizzurro confirmed. Terrance Ward went through a stop sign on North 15th Street in his 1999 Ford Expedition, police said. Officers said he had a loaded and defaced .45 caliber pistol.
Terrance Ward, 41, also of 12 Pine St., was charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and second and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, police said. Police are still investigating who may have fired shots after the crash. Five shell casings were found at the scene, Pizzurro said, and ballistics tests are being conducted.
Three other men who were in the car with Ward on Saturday were also arrested. Tony Whitehead, 23, of 32 Hemlock St., Central Islip, was charged with an outstanding warrant; Frederick Booker, 26, of 300 Lowell Ave., Central Islip, was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and Daquan Cannon, 24, of 67 Applegate Dr., Central Islip, was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.