Police won't charge driver in Hanukkah crash

/ Source: The Associated Press

A man who drove his sports utility vehicle into a Hanukkah party won't face charges in the crash, which police said Friday may have been caused by a stuck floor mat.

Thursday's crash injured 14 people, including the 76-year-old driver, psychologist Theodore Saretsky.

Saretsky, of Atlantic Beach, was released from the hospital Friday. Two children remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition Friday at Nassau University Medical Center, spokeswoman Linda Cianciulli said.

Nassau County investigators are looking at the possibility that the the vehicle's floor mat was stuck between the gas pedal and brake when Saretsky lost control of the car, police spokesman John Mullaney said.

Saretsky swerved his 2007 BMW X3 left and drove through a plate glass window into the building where Orthodox Jewish families were celebrating the fifth day of Hanukkah. About 150 people were at the party.

The injured included eight children, ranging in age from 1 to 8.

The Chanukah Wonderland event was sponsored by Chabad of the Five Towns, representing the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community on Long Island.

"We are doing whatever we possibly can for the families of these children during this most difficult of times and urge all people of good will to keep them in their prayers," Rabbi Zalman Wolowik, director of the Chabad of the Five Towns, said in a statement.

Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greek empire in 165 B.C. Led by the Maccabees, the Jews drove the Greeks from Jerusalem and reclaimed the temple.