ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) – The Rockville City Police Department is investigating what lead a woman to smash her SUV 25 feet into the MetLife office building Wednesday afternoon.
Witnesses say the accident sounded like thunder, but luckily, no one was injured. Workers told ABC 7 News the incident could have been much worse.
Around 5:45 p.m., Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service Chief Spokesperson Pete Piringer tweeted that there had been a three-car collision in the 2400 block of Research Boulevard, and that one of the cars had gone into the building.
2403 Research Bl, MetLife Bldg at least 2 cars collided in parking lot (1 parked) & came to rest 25' in an office pic.twitter.com/wtELfLrbXv— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) August 20, 2014
According to Piringer, the car crashed roughly 25 feet into the MetLife office building at 2403 Research Blvd. The driver was trapped in the vehicle under debris, and firefighters had to assist the building’s occupants outside.
Maria Movsessian works upstairs at an orthodontics office. She says she thought she heard the sound of thunder when the Jeep came barreling into the building below. It wasn’t until a fire alarm went off and she was told to evacuate that she realized what had actually happened.
“One of my coworkers asked what car I drove to work today, and I said, ‘I drove my car,’ so she said, ‘You might want to come look out the window,’” Movsessian said. “I saw my car in the trees, which is not where I had originally parked it.”
Her Mercedes was the car police say the Jeep’s 66-year-old driver hit first. Authorities say the driver was backing out of a parking space before she told them she blacked out and came crashing into the building.
“I’m definitely a little shocked,” Movsessian said. “I’m glad to hear that everyone is OK. Thank God I wasn’t in the car.”
Officials say the Jeep ended up about 25 feet inside the building before it came to a rest, just under the stairs. Firefighters say the driver’s young grandson was also in the SUV with her. Both were safely rescued.
“It was pretty busy when they first evacuated the building,” Movsessian said. “There was a good amount of people outside, and there were actually some people stuck in the office that she went into; they couldn’t get out because they were blocked by a car.”
The Jeep ended up going through the Hearing Healthcare office on the first floor. Suzanne Noonan is one of the owners; she says one of their providers normally sits with her back to the same window that’s now destroyed. Luckily, she says she was at the company’s second location in Wheaton when the accident occurred.
“I just feel like our guardian angels were watching over her today,” Noonan said.
Restoration crews finished boarding up the building’s smashed windows late Wednesday. The car mostly hit mostly drywall and glass; the building’s structural support was not affected by the crash.
Police say the driver was cited for failing to control the vehicle’s speed.