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Associated Press
Emergency workers assist those injured at the scene of a crash Friday in Lima, Ohio. Thirty people were injured.

Driver plows into crowded square; 30 hurt

– A 63-year-old woman suddenly drove her car into a crowded town square in northwest Ohio and struck bystanders, sending some through the air and injuring about 30 people, some of whom were pinned under the car and freed when bystanders lifted it, authorities and witnesses said.

No one was killed, but some victims suffered serious injuries to their legs, heads and necks, police said. A hospital spokeswoman said about 30 people were treated Friday night.

All but four were released, and at least one other victim was taken to another hospital.

The chaotic scene unfolded after 9 on Friday night in Lima, where more than 1,000 people had gathered for a weekly community event featuring live music, police said.

“We were packed,” said Andrea Scheckelhoss, who was working in a beer truck at the event. “This was probably one of our busiest nights.”

She said people were trying to get their last round of beer for the night when she saw a small, two-door vehicle come from her right and plow through the crowd. About 50 people were in and around the car’s path.

“I could hear the people hitting against the car,” the 25-year-old Scheckelhoss said. “There were shoes flying. I could see people tumbled over. It was just so disturbing.”

Scheckelhoss, one of the first people to dial 911, said the woman, whom police are not identifying, had a white dog in the back seat.

“I remember looking at the woman’s face,” she said. “She looked disoriented.”

Todd Truesdale, the fire chief for Shawnee Township, was at the event with his wife and some friends. He said he had his back turned to the accident when he heard a loud scream and turned around.

“I saw two people go up the air, and I knew it was a car,” he said. “I couldn’t see it, but I heard the revving of the engine.”

Finally, the car struck an old sculpture in the square, witnesses say, then came to a stop with its windshield shattered. Those nearby picked it up to free victims who were trapped.

Lima Police Detective Steve Stechschulte said the woman probably drove the car about 50 feet at about 20 mph. Tire marks show the car’s destructive path, including a sidewalk and mulch-filled flower bed.

Truesdale, who said the car came to rest right beside him, began to help local responders.

“Everyone was trying to help,” he said. “It was tragic, but it was nice to see the community come together, especially the local fire, police and EMS.”

Stechschulte said officials were still investigating what may have caused the crash. He said the woman, who lives in the area, was not injured and has been released pending further investigation. He said she has been cooperative.

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