Car crashes into arabber

A Chevrolet Impala crashed into an arabber carrying produce Thursday evening near M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. (Baltimore Sun photo by Erin Cox / June 27, 2013)

A colorful horse-drawn arabber cart was smashed against a streetlight pole by an out-of-control car Thursday night, upending the produce carriage, tossing three men to the ground and scattering fruit onto the street near M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Police said no one was seriously injured in the crash, which happened as the cart was crossing Russell Street at W. Hamburg Street. The horse pulling the carriage, Tony, had a scraped hoof and leg but afterward was munching grass in a median.

"Never had this happen before," said James Rich, 43, who has worked as an arabber for 30 years and was riding on the cart's tailgate before it was toppled onto the hood of a black Chevrolet Impala.

Melons were splattered on the sidewalk, but plums, peaches and oranges appeared largely unharmed. Rich and the two other arabbers objected as they saw emergency personnel workers scoop up a stray piece of produce.

"That's a lot of fruit out there," said Brian Royster, 16, who along with Bilal Abdullah, 24, had been sitting in the front seat.

"You couldn't realize it was coming," added Abdullah, who has worked with the iconic, meticulously stacked produce carts for 15 years. "It came out of nowhere."

Baltimore Police Officer James O'Brien said the driver of Impala reported that her brakes failed as she approached a stoplight at Hamburg Street. The driver hit the back of a red SUV and careened into the arraber cart as it began crossing the street. The arabbers said they had aches and pains but where primarily stunned by the crash.

Rich eventually began sweeping up the spilled fruit with a broom as the Impala was towed away.

ecox@baltsun.com