Fire chief watches woman plow car into crowded fest
Fire chief commends community for pulling together to assist the 30 injured; no one was killed
LIMA, Ohio — A woman suddenly drove her car into a crowded town square in northwest Ohio and struck bystanders, sending some through the air and injuring about 30 people, some of whom were pinned under the car and freed when bystanders lifted it, authorities and witnesses said.
No one was killed, but some victims suffered serious injuries to their legs, heads and necks, police said. A hospital spokeswoman said about 30 people were treated Friday night. All but four were released, and at least one other victim was taken to another hospital.
The chaotic scene unfolded after 9 on Friday night in Lima, where more than 1,000 people had gathered for a weekly community event featuring live music, police said.
"We were packed," said Andrea Scheckelhoss, who was working in a beer truck at the event. "This was probably one of our busiest nights."
She said people were trying to get their last round of beer for the night when she saw a small, two-door vehicle come from her right and plow through the crowd. About 50 people were in and around the car's path.
"I could hear the people hitting against the car," the 25-year-old Scheckelhoss said. "There were shoes flying. I could see people tumbled over. It was just so disturbing."
Todd Truesdale, the fire chief for Shawnee Township, was at the event with his wife and some friends. He said he had his back turned to the accident when he heard a loud scream and turned around.
"I saw two people go up the air, and I knew it was a car," he said. "I couldn't see it, but I heard the revving of the engine."
Finally, the car struck an old sculpture in the square, witnesses say, then came to a stop with its windshield shattered. Those nearby picked it up to free victims who were trapped.
Scheckelhoss, one of the first people to dial 911, said the unidentified driver appeared to be in her 40s. She had a white dog in the back seat.
"I remember looking at the woman's face," she said. "She looked disoriented."
Truesdalem, who said the car came to rest right beside him, began to help local responders.
"Everyone was trying to help," he said. "It was tragic, but it was nice to see the community come together, especially the local fire, police and EMS."
It's not clear what happened to the driver. Police said they're still investigating what may have caused the crash.
Lima is about 80 miles south of Toledo.