- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

MANDEVILLE, La. (AP) - A car driven by a 96-year-old woman Monday crashed through a glass wall at the Mandeville community center, injuring four people inside.

The wreck happened shortly before 9 a.m. at the Paul Spitzfaden Community Center near City Hall. Police spokesman Capt. Gerald Sticker said the victims were taken to the hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life threatening.

Sticker told NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune (https://bit.ly/1PSwZj5 ) one man was pinned beneath the car and had to be pulled out by first responders. He reportedly had a leg injury and gash to the head.

The driver, Rita Williams, was pulling up to the building and stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, Sticker said. Williams was not hurt when the car crashed through a glass wall and into a television lounge where four people were seated.

The 2001 Toyota Camry came to a halt inside the building. The floor of the community center near the shattered window was smeared with blood. Police said the driver, whom they identified as Rita Williams, was not injured.



Dianne Mauberret said she had just sat down with a cup of coffee when she heard a loud crashing sound. The car came to a rest about a foot from the coffee station where she had just filled her cup.

“I thought the whole building was coming down,” she said. “If I would have been a few second later, I would have been standing right there.”

Despite significant damage to the city-owned building, officials said they hoped to reopen it soon.

Mayor Donald Villere said the center ordinarily would be filled with people later in the morning.

“It could have absolutely been a whole lot worse,” said Villere, who arrived at the scene from his City Hall office across the street minutes after the crash. “We are so very fortunate there were not more people there.”

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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