By PHILIP MESSING, NY Post
A camouflage-clad Florida dance troupe desperate to make it to a live TV talent show set off a rush-hour terror scare when they ditched their cars in merciless Lincoln Tunnel traffic and tried to sprint through the tube.
The FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force was called in — and a massive contingent of heavily armed cops surrounded the harmless performers, who stood teary-eyed in their showy costumes as hundreds of angry drivers were stuck in the snarl.
“They drew their guns on us at first,” said Landon Burse, 24, the group’s executive director who arranged the appearance on BET’s “106 & Park” segment “Wild on Wednesday.”
“It was terrifying. I was crying,” said Eternity Odom, 16, one of the four girls who perform in the group.
The tunnel was closed for 45 minutes before cops realized the eight-member team was headed to the studio on West 57th Street. They eventually offered them a police escort to make the show.
But it was too late — the hard-headed producers of the live talent show told them not to bother, sending them in a trail of tears back down the New Jersey Turnpike.
The group, called “Club Envy,” had set out from Jacksonville about 24 hours earlier with stardust in their eyes as they hit I-95 for the 1,158 mile trip north — a trip for which they spent three months holding local fundraisers.
The first 23Â½ hours went off without a hitch, but the trip hit a traffic snarl at the tunnel’s New Jersey helix around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.
That’s when seven performers and a manager leapt from the two-vehicle convoy and attempted to hoof it for the last five miles.
Alarmed Port Authority cops saw the youths in costumes — including unfortunate camouflage-colored shorts and vests — and immediately called the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Among them were Burse and three young men who perform in the group — Ronnie Killing Jr., 20; Dontel Jabal Madison, 18; Darius Hutchins, 19.
In addition to Odom, three other 16-year-old girls also began sprinting toward Manhattan — Adaya Foster, Kenya Clark and Courtney King.
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