An accelerated Saturn Aura lifted off and crashed into the side of the U.S. Post Office building on Mack Avenue at Grosse Pointe Farms on the morning of July 9, sending bricks and other construction debris flying.
GROSSE POINTE FARMS – A violent accident shattered an otherwise busy and pleasant Saturday morning on Mack Avenue at Grosse Pointe Farms.
A 31-year-old Detroit man allegedly drove at speeds over 60 mph around 10 a.m. on July 9 on eastbound Warren Avenue when, instead of turning when Warren ends at Mack, police said that he had continued to drive straight, passing through Mack, over the sidewalk and through a small brick wall and flagpole, then into the Grosse Pointe Farms branch of the U.S. Post Office at 18640 Mack Ave.
Farms Deputy Director of Public Safety Andrew Rogers, who was at the scene of the accident, said the man’s vehicle ‘was definitely in the air’, given its position embedded in the side of the building.
“He blew that wall up like shrapnel,” Rogers said of the building.
The driver is believed to have had a medical issue – possibly a seizure – which led to the accident, although this has not been conclusively determined at press time.
The driver’s toy car – a 2008 Saturn Aura – crashed like an accordion, but Rogers said the driver was in surprisingly good shape considering the powerful impact. Rogers said the driver did not have a broken bone but was taken to a local hospital for examination.
“Apart from being (shaken) and dazed, he was in really good shape,” Rogers said. “The (brick) wall and the pole definitely saved his life. This absorbed a lot of the energy (from the accident). “
Three people inside the post office – including a postal worker who suffered a laceration in his arm – were injured by flying debris and taken to hospital, along with around two pedestrians who were struck by flying debris outside. None, however, suffered serious or life-threatening injuries.
“The scariest thing about it is it’s a beautiful Saturday morning,” Rogers said of the hot, sunny conditions that day. “There are always people on that sidewalk (towards nearby shops and restaurants). It is a pedestrian area with heavy traffic at this time of day…. The fact that no one was seriously injured is a miracle.
Although the car entered the building, causing damage and breaking a water main, it could have been even worse.
“Fortunately, he missed the gas meter by about 4 feet,” Rogers said.
Vehicles in the parking lot, however, were a different matter, as bricks and other airborne debris flew away, smashing windshields, leaving holes in vehicle doors and causing dents and scratches. important. Rogers said at least nine vehicles in the post office parking lot were struck by flying building materials.
“It’s not like the wall (of the building) collapsed – it exploded,” Rogers said.
Officers from the Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Department were on scene to offer traffic and firefighting assistance, as at one point the driver’s vehicle began to burn, although the fire was quickly brought under control. Rogers said Detroit police were also briefly on the scene.
The post office had to close for the day but had reopened on Monday July 11.
Police were reviewing surveillance footage at press time as some witnesses saw what appeared to be two other passengers who exited the driver’s vehicle and fled the scene before first responders arrived. The concern, Rogers said, is that the passengers may have been injured but were not treated or assessed by doctors to allow them to return home without further medical treatment.