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Driver Arrested After Ramming Shops, Narrowly Missing Pedestrians In Melbourne Car Rampage

Police say the incident is not terror-related but the driver is known to them.

14/06/2017 3:03 PM AEST | Updated 14/06/2017 3:14 PM AEST

A 34-year-old Melbourne man has been charged after pedestrians were forced to flee for their lives in a late-night car rampage in Melbourne's CBD.

Footage shows the white Honda mounting the crowded footpath on Swanston Street and then speeding down the pavement as shocked pedestrians run and jump out of the way. The car narrowly missed a homeless man who was sitting on the pavement, a witness told Sunrise, with bystanders estimating the vehicle was going at speeds of up to 50 or 60km/h, reports Channel 7 News.

One witness told radio station 3AW that he had just taken his children to watch the Australia vs Brazil soccer match at the MCG when the vehicle almost ran him over.

The car smashed into several businesses, including Commonwealth and ANZ banks, before heading to the Crown Casino, where it entered the basement carpark and crashed into the foyer of the casino.

Police eventually apprehended the Burwood East man in the middle of the casino's gaming room floor.

But the driver also stopped at a pedestrian crossing to allow one person across, with police saying they do not believe he was targeting civilians.

7 News Melbourne
The white Honda narrowly missed pedestrians as it sped down Swanston Street footpath.

"We are assured because of the fact that the vehicle did stop, the intent wasn't to cause any harm to any of the pedestrians," Victoria Police Inspector Stephen Cooper said.

Stuart Hicks told Nine News he ran towards the car shouting at people to get out of the way.

"He would have been in Chinatown running people over if he didn't crash into the bank... It was lucky, so lucky no one got run over," Hicks said.

Inspector Cooper said the man's motives were still unclear, but police do not believe they were terror-related.

Police are yet to interview the 34-year-old, as he is receiving mental health treatment in hospital, but say he is known to them.

The incident comes just five months after Dimitrious Gargasoulas, 26, allegedly mowed down pedestrians in Bourke Street Mall, in a deadly rampage which killed six people and injured 28 others.

Concrete bollards have just been put in place at the mall to prevent a repeat of such an incident, with some now calling for similar bollards to be constructed on Swanston Street.

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