UPDATE: Man in SUV smashes through entrance at Mountain View Hospital
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UPDATE: Idaho Falls Police say the driver of the black SUV was a 79-year-old man. The woman is 77-years-old. Authorities have determined the driver hit the accelerator rather than the brake.
Witnesses say an elderly man, who has not been identified, was in the process of picking up his wife from the clinic when the accident happened.
“It looked like he confused the gas and the brake,” athletic trainer Todd Johnson said. “The car went right across the front and didn’t slow down … when he stopped his tires were still spinning.”
Johnson was inside the building on a treadmill and watched the crash through a window.
The vehicle destroyed the sliding glass door entrance of the building. The SUV also caused structural damage to a corner of the building adjacent to the door.
Several witnesses said the driver’s reported wife was waiting in front of the entrance and managed to jump out of the way to avoid the vehicle. In the process she struck a nearby pillar and sustained a head injury.
A medical team from Mountain View initially responded to the driver and the woman, before an ambulance arrived to take both individuals to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Idaho Falls Police Department Traffic Officer Mike Cosens, who responded to the scene, confirmed the witness testimony. He said it is unclear if the accident was mechanical or caused by the driver. Cosens had not yet conducted interviews of the driver or the woman following the accident.
Mountain View Chief Compliance Officer Ned Hillyard, who was also at the scene, said the repairs will be expensive, but he’s happy the accident wasn’t worse.
“We feel terrible about what happened (to this couple), but we’re glad that no one was badly injured,” Hillyard said.
Until the entrance is fixed, patients can use an alternate door nearby.
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Photos by Stephan Rockefeller.