Woman injured as car slams backwards into building

Woman injured as car slams backwards into building
SEATTLE - Several people were left shaken and a 79-year-old woman was injured when her car backed through the wall of a commercial building in Northwest Seattle, emergency officials said.

Fire crews responded to the scene, at 1111 N. Northgate Way, at about 12:25 p.m. after receiving calls about a car crashing into a building, said Kyle Moore of the Seattle Fire Department.

Arrriving at the scene, crews found that a car had slammed backwards into the building with such force that it collapsed part of the wall. Nearly the entire car was inside the building, with only its front bumper sticking out.

Inside the building was a tangle of damaged furniture, drywall, insulation and office equipment.

The car crashed into two businesses - the Northgate Chiropractor Pain Control and Massage and a State Farm insurance office.

No one was struck or injured inside the building, but one employee said it came close as the car ripped out the wall and tore loose fixtures.

"It feels like the walls coming at me and I thought it was an earthquake," said Autumn Norwood, manager at the State Farm office, as she surveyed extensive damage around her desk. "So I just jump back and I run outside and I see this car just drive forward. It looks like she’s flooring it. Runs into a truck and then she goes into reverse, floors it back and then goes again into the wall where my desk is right here."

The driver, who witnesses described as an elderly woman, was rescued from the car, placed on a gurney and taken to the hospital for evaluation. There were no passengers in the car.

"(The driver) was apparently nervous and scared and confused," Seattle Police Detective Renee Witt said. "And apparently she thought she had her car in drive but she put it in reverse, hit the accelerator, and drove through the building. Then she accelerated forward and hit some cars, then backed up into the building. As a result of that, she was injured -- mostly from the airbag being deployed."

Inspectors have said despite the big gaping hole in the wall, the building is still structurally sound.