For anyone who witnessed it, a scene in Logan traffic on Tuesday must have seemed like something out of a bizarre dream.
A driverless, runaway vehicle traveled more than a block in the wrong lane on South Main Street, hitting at least one other car and mowing down a road sign before ramming into a house. And despite all the danger posed by this unguided automotive missile, it appears nobody was seriously hurt.
The unusual sequence of events began shortly after a three-car crash at 700 South and Main around 1:30 p.m. As witnesses described it to police, one of the vehicles in the crash was a Chevrolet Suburban that started moving on its own after the female driver exited the vehicle following the crash.
“We don’t know exactly what happened, whether she had put it in park or the gas pedal was jammed — that’s still under investigation — but witnesses said the driver got out of the car and that thing took off,” Assistant Logan Police Chief Jeff Simmons said. “It traveled northbound, crossed the center median and took out a state sign. It didn’t hit anyone, thankfully, but did strike a house just north of 600 South.”
Along the way, the large SUV took a short detour onto the property of the newly constructed Adams Wealth Advisors building and, according to witnesses, went airborne over one of the dirt mounds on the property. It then re-entered the roadway, traveling north in the southbound lane, crossed the Logan River bridge and veered into the house.
Simmonds told The Herald Journal Tuesday night that no other cars were struck by the driverless Suburban. He later corrected that statement, saying it “clipped” at least one vehicle along the way, but the impact resulted in no known injuries.
It is not clear how heavy southbound traffic was at the time or how many cars had to evade the runaway Suburban. Police also aren’t sure how fast the car was going, but evidence suggests considerable speed.
“Based on the tread marks in the dirt, how it took out the state sign and how hard it impacted the house, officers on the scene said it must have been going at a good clip,” Simmons said.
The damaged house, located at 547 S. Main, had occupants at the time, but nobody inside was injured. Police scanner traffic indicated an inspector was sent to access the damage. No estimate has been made public.
Simmons said the initial accident at 700 South caused only minor injuries to some of the people involved, all of whom were treated at the scene. No police officers were present for the runaway-vehicle drama.
“We were there to clean up the aftermath, but we were not witnesses to the actual incident,” he said.