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Woman seriously hurt in afternoon collision

Police say SUV crossed median, traffic lanes at high speed before hitting delivery truck

POSTED: February 16, 2013 12:14 a.m.

A woman was seriously injured Friday afternoon when her SUV crossed the median and multiple lanes of Athens Highway, a parking lot and then slammed a delivery truck into a building.

Gainesville Police said the woman was flown to Atlanta Medical Center. No one else was seriously injured.

Cpl. Kevin Holbrook, police spokesman, said the Ford Escape the woman was driving was heading southbound at about noon when it crossed the median at high speed. It then crossed the northbound lanes and hit the box truck, which was delivering items to a supermarket, Los 3 Hermanos, near Lenox Drive.

An employee, Ricardo Banegas, was in the back of the truck unloading but was not seriously injured.

Banegas said he didn’t know what happened, but said he hurt his foot slightly.

Jesus Carrillo, 18, son of store owner Oscar Carrillo, was working when he heard the sound.

“I had just gotten done ringing something up, and there was a sound like a big explosion,” he said. “It was so loud, it’s hard to even describe. It sounded like a tank — a big boom.”

He said he wondered what could have happened if the truck wasn’t parked outside.

“Things were knocked off shelves. The whole store shook,” he said. “It’s just crazy to think what if that truck hadn’t been there.”

Ginger Martin was riding with her husband and two children when the woman’s vehicle came within 10 feet of theirs.

“All I saw was car,” Martin said. “I’ve never been so scared in my whole entire life.”

She dialed 911 and her husband jumped out of their SUV to try to help.

Grover Bagley, who was inside the nearby Wings & Philly restaurant, said the woman seemed to be slumped over the steering wheel as the accident occurred. Police said they are unsure at this point what caused the vehicle to leave the roadway.

Martin’s husband, Robert, said all he could see was the top of the woman’s head.

“I just hope and pray she’s OK,” Ginger Martin said. “I don’t know what she was doing. I don’t know what was going on. I don’t know what her situation was, but obviously that car looks bad.”

Police were unsure of the extent of her injuries but noted that it was a high-speed collision. Both Hall and Gainesville fire services responded to the incident.

Gainesville Police will be investigating the incident, talking with witnesses and examining physical evidence to determine what happened.

Times staff writer Emma Witman contributed to this report.


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