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Staten Island bar owner who has defied COVID-19 restrictions allegedly hits deputy with car

Staten Island bar owner who has defied COVID-19 restrictions allegedly hits deputy with car
Posted at 11:03 AM, Dec 07, 2020

NEW YORK CITY — The co-owner of a Staten Island bar that continues to flout local coronavirus restrictions was arrested again early Sunday morning after allegedly hitting a sheriff's deputy with his vehicle, officials said.

After a night of surveillance at Mac's Public House, two uniformed deputy sheriffs approached Daniel Presti, 34, just after midnight to place him under arrest, but he ran from the officers, got into his vehicle and began to drive away, according to the sheriff's office.

Presti allegedly drove into one of the uniformed deputies, officials said. The deputy was thrown onto the hood of the vehicle and Presti reportedly continued to drive down South Railroad Avenue with the injured deputy still clinging to the hood of the car.,

Presti drove about 100 yards before stopping his vehicle, officials said. He was arrested and taken to a police precinct, where he is expected to be charged.

The deputy sheriff who was struck by the vehicle was taken to Staten Island University Hospital for treatment, officials said.

The car crash was the latest incident surrounding the controversial Staten Island bar — which has garnered national attention and was even spoofed on Saturday Night Live over the weekend.

Presti was also taken into custody by deputy sheriffs on Tuesday after an investigation revealed the bar was offering indoor dining and defying several other coronavirus restrictions despite rising infection rates in the area. Staten Island has the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in New York.

Bars and restaurants in state-designated "orange" microcluster zones are only allowed to offer takeout and outdoor dining, with a four-person maximum per table.

Despite Presti's initial arrest and the loss of the the bar's liquor license, Mac's Public House opened its doors to indoor diners again this weekend, according to the sheriff's office.

On Saturday night, deputy sheriffs reported witnessing dozens of people entering and exiting a neighboring commercial space to access the back door of the bar.

According to the sheriff's office, food and alcohol were being served to unmasked and standing patrons in exchange for "monetary donations."

Following Presti's arrest Saturday night, Mac's Public House said on Facebook that the restaurant would remain open.

"We will not back down! You have not scared us!! The world is watching and it's time for everyone to wake up!" a statement on the bar's Facebook page said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, commented on Presti's second arrest on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

"Presti has been telling the world who he really is for days now, but last night's incident made it crystal clear. Whether it's flouting public health laws or ramming a car into a deputy, this guy clearly has no regard for the lives of others. That's what it comes down to," Neidhardt said.

This story was originally published by Lauren Cook and Allison Kaden on WPIX in New York City.