Police investigating crash outside home of Hamilton mobster Pat Musitano
1 man was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, but has since been released
Police are investigating a bizarre crash outside the home of a Hamilton mobster that saw three men flee, shedding clothes —including a mask— as they ran.
A 76-year-old man was parked outside Pat Musitano's house Monday, investigators say, when something he saw spooked him, causing him to speed out of the driveway and crash head-on into a Mercedes.
The man was injured and taken to hospital. Meanwhile, the people inside the Mercedes ran away. And though one man eventually turned himself in and was charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident and conspiracy to commit murder, police say, but he's since been released without conditions.
The Musitano name is notorious in Hamilton, as is the St. Clair Avenue address where the crash happened. The collision is also just the latest incident amid a surge of mob-related violence across the area.
Pat, the reputed scion of the crime family that shares his name, survived being shot multiple times in a Mississauga parking lot in April.
The attempt on his life came just over two years after his home, the same site as Monday's crash, was sprayed with bullets back in June 2017.
Police say officers were called to the crash between a Buick Lacrosse and Mercedes C300 around 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Photos from the scene show at least five police cruisers parked around the quiet neighbourhood between Cumberland and Delaware Avenues. The front ends of both cars are heavily damaged, their hoods crumpled and bumpers knocked loose.
The men in the Mercedes were seen running north on St. Clair, say police. A third man who may have been in the car with them, or who may have ran from the area around Musitano's home, was also seen fleeing north, police say.
The service's Division 10 criminal investigation branch was initially probing the crash. But police say the fact that the injured man was parked in Musitano's drive before the collision meant the city's major crime and intelligence units took over.
Injured driver no cooperating with police
It's unclear what led to the crash.
Police say something "spooked" the man in the Buick, causing him to "leave the driveway suddenly, in a dangerous manner" and collide with the other vehicle.
The 76-year-old, who received minor injuries, is not cooperating with investigators.
All three men from the Mercedes are described as black and between the ages of 25 and 30. Two are described as being about six feet tall, according to police, with athletic builds. One of the men was initially wearing a mask and another man was carrying a bag police say he pulled from the car.
The third man is shorter and stockier than the other two, say investigators, adding video surveillance shows the men shedding clothing "at various times" as they headed toward Holton Avenue and King Street East.
Police say the Mercedes was from the Montreal area and a man who identified himself as its owner later contacted police to report the crash.
He eventually turned himself in at the central police station around 2:40 a.m. and was arrested for failing to remain at the scene of an accident, police said in a media release. Police say he was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder because of ongoing investigations involving the Musitano family.
Interviewers interviewed the driver for several hours, but he did not cooperate with police. The service says he was released without conditions because of insufficient evidence to support criminal charges.
Police want anyone with video surveillance to call Det.-Sgt. Peter Thom at 905-546-2458.