Staten Island bar owner, defying lockdown, hits deputy with vehicle while fleeing cops, sheriff says

Thomas Catenacci, DCNF

A New York bar owner who has kept his establishment open for indoor dining in defiance of state restrictions, hit a sheriff’s deputy with his car while fleeing police Sunday morning, police said.

Danny Presti, the co-owner of Mac’s Public House in Staten Island, New York, was approached by deputies after they witnessed customers, some without masks, patronizing his bar Saturday night in violation of local coronavirus-related restrictions, New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito said, according to The Associated Press.

Presti allegedly attempted to flee authorities, got into his vehicle and drove away from the bar, The AP reported. During his attempted getaway, Presti hit a deputy who clung to the bar owner’s car for 100 yards, Fucito said

“Sheriffs swarmed his car as he was driving home from the bar,” Presti’s lawyer Mark Fonte, who contested the sheriff’s account, told The Staten Island Advance.

Police eventually arrested Presti, who remains in custody, according to The AP. The deputy who was struck while pursuing the bar owner was admitted to a nearby hospital.

Mac’s Public House, which has been fined thousands of dollars for violating closure laws, has been at the center of an ongoing fight between anti-lockdown advocates and local authorities, CBS New York reported. A large crowd of protesters swarmed the establishment Friday night in support of its stance against restrictions.

Police arrested Presti Tuesday evening after plainclothes deputies entered the bar and ordered food.

Mac’s Public House is located in an area Gov. Andrew Cuomo designated an orange zone, according to The AP. Restaurants in orange zones are prohibited from serving patrons indoors as the bar was doing.

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