A Rhode Island man is facing a number of charges for allegedly driving a car through Boston's City Hall Plaza on Friday night and crashing into a light pole before fleeing the scene.
Police arrived to the Congress Street side of the plaza at 10:37 p.m. where they found an unattended Toyota Corolla with heavy front-end damage. The vehicle was taking up most of the travel lane of the roadway.
Witnesses told police that the driver had entered the plaza from the area of Washington and Court streets, driving towards City Hall. When the vehicle approached the building, it turned right and down a large, three portion staircase before striking a large cast iron pole holding the crosswalk signal on Congress Street.
Numerous people had been walking on the stairs but fortunately, no one was hurt.
The driver, later identified as Nicholas Hoetzel, 26, of Tiverton, Rhode Island, fled the scene.
Police were able to locate Hoetzel a short time later in the area of 28 State St. He was unconscious and suffering from numerous non-life-threatening injuries.
Hoetzel was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital for treatment.
Police said when towing the vehicle, officers observed a large, opened bottle of alcohol in the front passenger seat and a firearm on the passenger side floor. The vehicle was then 'frozen' until a search warrant could be executed.
Further investigation revealed that Hoetzel does not have a license to carry a firearm in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. Authorities also believe that he suffers from mental health issues.
Police said there is no indication that the incident has any ties to terrorism.
Among the charges Hoetzel is facing are unlawful possession of a firearm, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and operating under the influence of alcohol. He will be arraigned Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court.