NEW YORK --A manhunt is underway after a man posing as a cab driver allegedly tried to rape a woman in front of her children before attacking the kids.
Police released dramatic surveillance video of the incident, which took place on Aug. 24 just before 3 a.m. in the rear of 7900 Queens Boulevard. They describe it as an attempted criminal sex act. Now, they're hoping a sketch and the video will lead to an arrest.
Stunning raw surveillance video:
According to authorities, the suspect picked up the 26-year-old victim and her three children, ages 1, 3, and 5, on 207th Street in Manhattan.
After driving them to Elmhurst and while in the rear of the location, the driver attempted to sexually assault the victim with the three children still inside the vehicle. The 1-year-old child was sitting in her lap at the time.
While the victim was attempting to get out, the suspect elbowed the 5-year-old in the head and forcibly removed the 3-year-old from the car before fleeing the scene.
The children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries.
James Yang, who witnessed the incident, said, "I heard a voice, heard some sounds but thought it was a fight between a couple."
Sources said the victim was returning to the Pan Am Hotel, and that initially the driver said the fare would be between $40 and $45. The young mother said she had $20. The suspect agreed, but then suddenly pulled down a side street and threatened the mother, saying if she didn't perform a sex act, he would rape her daughters.
The woman refused, sending the suspect into a violent rage, sources said.
Mary Vegas, a mother who lives in the area, said, "It was bad and I believe it shouldn't happen to nobody, it was sad."
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 40s, wearing a dark blue sweatsuit with white stripes. He had an earring in his right ear and manicured eyebrows, and he spoke Spanish.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).