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Car slams into South Salt Lake apartment, seriously injuring 12-year-old girl

Car into Building.jpg
Posted at 4:21 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 23:40:39-05

SOUTH SALT LAKE — A child was seriously injured Friday after a car slammed into a South Salt Lake apartment building, launching through the building and crashing out the other side.

The vehicle was completely embedded inside the unit at the Covewood Apartments in the 300 block of Summer Pine Drive.

People gathered around the building, with a gaping hole in the side. The crooked back end of a car could be seen inside the hole.

Witnesses said they saw the car speeding toward the building.

"She swerved and missed the other car in front of her, and her foot stuck on the gas pedal, or what happened I don't know," said Blair Phillips, who said he lives in the apartment complex and also works at the complex.

Phillips said he went up to the apartment just after the crash and found another man inside already helping out.

"He was helping pull the girl out of the car, and he screamed at me to come help her drag her through the window and get her out," Phillips recounted.

He soon realized an entire family was home inside the apartment when the car sailed through the walls, including three children, a mother and adult man.

"There was a baby in there," Phillips said, referring to a one-year old infant. "There was a 12-year old that the car flew right over."

The 12-year-old girl was pinned by the car, South Salt Lake Police Chief Jack Carruth said, and the fire department extricated her.

Paramedics transported the girl to the hospital in serious condition.

"Miraculously the vehicle narrowly missed the baby itself," Chief Carruth said, of the one-year old.

Phillips said he took the driver across the street and laid her on the grass until the fire department came.

"She was in good condition, she was just totally in shock," Phillips explained. "She didn't know what was going on."

The driver, who lives at the apartment complex, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Phillips has no idea what transpired that led to the car crashing into the apartment.

"She started from clear back at the entrance where you come in, on the gas pedal and just flew right through it-- I'm going to guess doing at least 60 [miles per hour]," Phillips said, of what he saw.

Chief Carruth said they don't know why the driver lost control of the vehicle, or what caused the accident itself. Their team is investigating that now.

"It was absolutely shocking," said Chief Carruth, of the crash. "The car made it actually out the other side, through the front door and into the breezeway."

Carruth said they don't think there was any intent behind the crash, and called it an "unfortunate" and "somewhat tragic" accident. He said they are hoping for the best for the recovery of the 12-year old child.

Phillips said from his understanding, the families displaced by the crash will be able to move into other empty apartment units in the complex. He expects some of the apartments in the building to be uninhabitable for at least a couple of weeks.