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Man drives car down Art Museum steps, tells police his brakes failed

Philadelphia police Friday questioned the driver of a convertible BMW that drove down the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art late Thursday night in an incident captured on video and widely circulated on the Internet.

The District Attorney's Office had approved a felony charge of criminal mischief against the driver because the car caused about $8,000 in damage to the steps, said Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for that office.

However, Central Detectives declined to press charges for now and the car will be tested to see if it could have had any mechanical problems at the time that caused the incident, said Officer Jillian Russell, a police department spokeswoman.

Emin Faki, 20, turned himself in Friday afternoon. He told police his brakes and transmission were giving him trouble, police said. He said he lost control of the car while at the top of the steps and began drifting sideways.

Video captured on mobile phone shows at least five other cars lined up at the top of the steps as the car made its way down the steps. Eight people were on the steps, with some of them cheering the driver.

The start of the man's descent in the car was not captured on the video, but shows the vehicle already partially down. The man in the car drove could be seen driving the car forward, then backing it down the last flight of steps, before driving away.

Tourists frequently congregate on the steps, which were made famous in the original Rocky movie. Cars are able to enter the top of the steps to a promenade through the back of the museum.

Hugh E Dillon, who runs PhillyChitChat, an entertainment website, tweeted: "Holy crap a guy just drove his car down the art museum steps and I have the (expletive) video. I was just driving by and see it. Omg"

Dillon posted the above video on YouTube.

Officials with the Art Museum could not immediately be reached for comment. Police were interviewing someone, but no arrest was announced.

Dillon, a contributor to who lives near the museum, said he encountered the car just about midnight as he was returning from an event in the city.

He was stopped at a red light at Eakins Oval when he saw headlights descending down the steps. He's seen people go down the steps on roller blades, cardboard boxes and sleds - but never in a car.

"At first I couldn' believe it," Dillon said. "I was a little nervous. I thought he was going to roll."

Dillon didn't believe speculation by some that the car had been parked at the top when it started to roll on its own before the man jumped in to save it. Rather, Dillon said it appeared the man - in his 30s, with short, dark, curly hair - was going down the steps intentionally.

"He was so deliberate in every single step. And then he went down backwards. It's difficult to do. When he got to the halfway point, he did a victory lap. There's a big apron, probably 30 feet wide, and he drove up and back, up and back, four times. Then he had to do a K-turn at either end. When he got to the bottom, he did another victory lap, then drove off."

"He was smiling broadly," Dillon said. "He was so happy with himself."

The Inquirer contributed to this report.

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