1 dead, 11 hurt when car hits Gilbert business [w/ video] - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

1 dead, 11 hurt when car hits Gilbert business [w/ video]

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Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 6:48 pm

One person was killed Friday and 11 others injured when a car crashed through the windows of a business where an instructor was teaching a massage therapy class, police said.

The crash occurred at about 10 a.m. at Spa Pima, part of the Pima Medical Institute, said Lt. John Lyle of the Gilbert Police Department.

Company president Mark Luebke said there were eight students and one instructor inside the building when the Infinity sedan crashed through the large windows beneath a light blue awning and into the classroom. One student was killed, he said.

The vehicle and the body remained inside under debris at midday as authorities awaited a structural engineer to deem the building safe for investigators to enter. The sedan was partly covered in metal and plaster from the ceiling that appeared to have partially collapsed onto the car.

Lyle said the 87-year-old female driver and a passenger were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Nine others also were treated, including four who were taken to the hospital with more serious injuries. One suffered broken bones, he said. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening.

"We don't believe there's any impairment in terms of drugs or alcohol at this point," Lyle said of the car's driver.

None of the identities of the victims had yet been released.

Lyle said the driver, who also wasn't being identified, had been visiting a bank about 150 feet across the parking lot from the spa. He said she backed out of her parking spot, and for some reason accelerated forward, clipping a parked car before careening into the building.

The institute provides training for nurses, X-ray technicians and therapists, Luebke said.

At the time of the crash, the students were seated while the instructor was giving a lecture at the front of the room.

He said he had just pulled out of the parking lot a few minutes before the crash.

"I wasn't even a mile away when I got the call," Luebke said, standing near the building behind yellow police tape.

"They were just sitting at tables looking at the chalkboard," he said. "They would have had no warning at all."

The investigation remained ongoing.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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