By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The incident happened near the prominent Nieuwstraat (“New Street”) shopping street, where the van hit the terraces of a snack bar and a tavern, according to investigators.
The mayor of Brussels, Phillippe Close, told reporters that the vehicle was “traveling at extremely high speeds” towards the terrace, where there was a mix of tourists, city employees and Belgian locals.
Witnesses told Belgian media that the van entered the Saint-Michel boulevard leading into the busy shopping area with tires screeching and headed sway at high speed. One witness said he and his girlfriend “had to jump for our lives to avoid being crushed by the van.”
None of those injured required hospitalization, but the shock remained Friday in a city on edge.
Video footage of the incident on social media showed the white van traveling quickly and veering wildly.
The driver fled in the vehicle after the incident shortly before 1 p.m. local time. But he was arrested in the northern city of Antwerp later in the afternoon, Brussels prosecutors said.
His van had earlier been found abandoned in a nearby Brussels district.
“The facts, of course, make you think of attacks as having happened in the past. But this is not the only possibility we are considering. It is also possible that it was just an accident,” a Brussels prosecution spokesperson said.
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