Driver hits tree to avoid bystanders at garage sale - FOX Carolina 21

Driver hits tree to avoid bystanders at garage sale

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A mother is praising a driver who fought his out-of-control SUV to avoid hitting bystanders at a Raytown garage sale.

The man and a second driver were injured. They were taken to an area hospital to be checked out after six vehicles were involved in crashes that resulted in two vehicles plowing through a yard set up for a garage sale.

There were two children in car seats in a parked vehicle in the driveway that was hit, but the children weren't injured. The children's mother was standing by her vehicle talking to the woman putting on the garage sale about the price of a baby carrier when vehicles began to fly around like bumper cars.

"We're just shaken. I've never seen anything like this. It's so scary," said Jessica Williams who was negotiating to buy the baby carrier.

Five children had been playing outside by the tree and had gone inside for a bathroom break just a few minutes before the crash. They were returning outside and could have been hit by the out-of-control SUV that was headed toward the house.

The driver apparently hit the tree to avoid bystanders, witnesses said. Chairs, tables and baby strollers were scattered nearby.

The six vehicles were actually involved in two crashes. The first three vehicles were involved in rear-end crashes. As three other vehicles approached the 7400 block of Blue Ridge Boulevard in Raytown, the drivers would serve to avoid the first vehicles and wound up getting involved in a second crash.

The first crash wasn't a big deal, Williams said.

"It was a fender bender. Didn't think a whole lot of it. Continued on with the sale," she said. "Next thing I know I hear a huge crash and I see the SUV and the van collide and start coming at where I was standing and then it careened into the garage sale and smacked into the tree."

Witnesses said the driver was a state trooper who was in uniform and told them that he was  driving home from work when the crash occurred.

However, a spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol said Friday night that no MHP trooper was involved in the crash. As a result, it wasn't clear Friday night if the driver was a law enforcement officer and which agency he worked for.

The driver was hit in the chest when his SUV's air bag deployed.

Witnesses said he rushed to assist others as his training kicked in but bystanders convinced him that he was hurt and needed to be checked out. The man then collapsed. He was later talking when put on a stretcher.

"He was headed straight for the house and managed to avoid it and smacked into the tree. He jumped out to go help other people," Williams said.

The driver of blue-green mini van was also taken to the hospital by ambulance but authorities said that driver was also talking.

The occupants of the remaining vehicles suffered minor injuries and weren't taken to the hospital via ambulance.

The Raytown Fire Department was assisted by the Kansas City Fire Department in checking out all those involved in the crash.

Williams and other bystanders are just grateful that all will be OK and no one else was hurt especially with so many children around.

"It was a really close call and it freaked me out," Williams said.

Ashley Cornelius concurred.

"The grace of God was with us and I am absolutely just nerve wracked right now and glad that my kids are OK, her kids are fine and everybody else will be OK hopefully," Cornelius said.

Watch KCTV5 News for more on this story.

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