Car Crash Damages Wichita Apartment; Injures Tenant

By: Cayle Thompson Email
By: Cayle Thompson Email

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Neighbors say it sounded like an explosion that shook the entire building.

It was a rude wake-up call for many residents at the Westway Apartments in the 1500 block of W. Pawnee just after 11:00 Monday night. A driver plowed his car through an apartment, seriously injuring a woman inside.

Skid marks could still be seen on the sidewalk in front of the building Tuesday morning.

"I was sitting inside cooking when all of sudden I heard a 'Bam'!" said neighbor Merle Hale. "I came out... and the driver was burning the tires off in that apartment."

Another neighbor rushed to help, reaching into the car and turning it off as witnesses say the tires spun out.

Investigators say they're still trying to piece together exactly what happened, but have arrested the driver and are looking into whether alcohol may have been involved.

Neighbors say they did not recognize the driver as being somebody who lived at the complex.

Witnesses say the woman inside the apartment was pulled out on a stretcher and rushed to Via Christi St. Francis hospital. A spokesperson for the hospital tells KAKE News the woman is in serious condition, although authorities on the scene say she was expected to recover.

This wasn't the only incident at the apartment complex Monday night.

About two hours before the car crash, firefighters were called out to battle a small oven fire in an apartment almost directly above the one hit by the car. The tenant in that case says he was trying to keep warm, and left his oven on while he ran an errand. Firefighters say damage to that apartment was minimal. Authorities do not believe the two incidents are related.

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