'Delicate' Rescue After Van Slams Into Apartment

Published 02/19 2014 05:34PM

Updated 02/19 2014 05:57PM

A van slammed into an Evansville apartment building and pinned the people inside. As if the job of rescuing the trapped people wasn't difficult enough, rescue crews had to make sure the walls didn't come crashing down on them.

The bizarre accident happened around lunchtime in the 2300 block of Ponderosa Place. That's located in the Vann Ave. apartment complex on the southeast side. Three people were injured in the accident, according to District Chief Greg Main. The driver of the van said her foot became wedged between the pedals causing her van to plow into the downstairs apartment.

"I was letting my dog out near the dumpster and I was walking back. [The driver of the van] stopped but I thought [she was] going to back up. They ran right through it," a neighbor said. "I thought for sure it was going to take me out."
"It's a delicate situation when you have a technical rescue," Main said. "The actual van was pinned up against a patient."

Rescue crews had to contend with worries about the structural integrity of the apartment building after the crash. Before slamming through the sliding glass door, the van took out a support beam connected to the upstairs balcony.

"A structural collapse was a very serious concern," Main said. "We were very worried that it might collapse. We had to evaluate the structure."

"From the inside, you can see underneath the stairs where it has been pushed out," the neighbor said. "They came up and knocked on my door and told me not to step out onto my balcony."

Main said the Evansville Building Commission is in the process of making sure the building is safe enough before they let people back inside. The victim's injuries are not considered life-threatening.

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