Maspeth resident David Foubister came across the accident at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 71st Street just after it happened. He said a group of people lifted the vehicle off best friends Ashley Khan, 13, and Marina Abadir, 14, who were pinned underneath.
"We lifted the car and pulled the girls out," he said.
Minutes later emergency crews arrived on the scene.
The girls were taken to a local hospital. Abadir needed surgery on both her elbows and suffered a spine fracture, and as well as bruises and burns all over her body. She was listed in critical condition.
Meanwhile, Khan underwent surgery to repair a fractured leg and pelvis.
Investigators say driver Francis-Aung Lu mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of the brake, causing him to lose control of the car. He stayed on the scene and was cooperating with police. No charges have been filed.
The accident comes during the first week of school and just as the city prepares to deploy 20 mobile speeding cameras to crack down on fast drivers in the city's 100 most dangerous school zones.