A motor vehicle accident occurred outside of Chipotle Mexican Grill on University Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon, hospitalizing three people.
Paige Bunting, a communication senior and sales associate at the clothing boutique Collette, said she was standing less than 10 feet away when the accident occurred.
“I was standing right by the front of the store, and all of a sudden I just saw this car back up and hit a bench,” Bunting said. “One girl was lying stuck under the bench. … The ambulance was here in a matter of like one minute, and then everyone was getting carried off on stretchers.”
Alisha Vasquez, who witnessed the event, said she and her friend had been going to lunch when the accident occurred in the parking spot next to their car.
“It looked like she was backing in, and I think she maybe pressed on the gas too hard and then just went over [the curb],” Vasquez said.
Sgt. Pete Dugan, spokesperson for the Tucson Police Department, said the call regarding the accident came in to TPD just after 1 p.m. The accident was a result of the driver backing up into a parking space too quickly, according to Dugan.
“The car backed up at a high rate of speed and hit a bench behind the parking spot,” Dugan said. “The bench then hit the door of the business there, causing some minor damage to the door, and three people were injured.”
TPD and the Tucson Fire Department both sent responders to the scene. Passersby on University Boulevard stopped to take photos as witnesses were interviewed by police officers.
The three people injured in the accident were taken to the University of Arizona Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries, said Joey Menke, assistant chief of the University of Arizona Student
Emergency Medical Services.
TPD Sgt. Chris Widmer said the three victims sustained significant injuries, though it remains unclear how they were injured.
“When we went back to the hospital to ask them how they got hit, they were not sure,” Widmer said. “We know it happened while the vehicle was backing, we’re just not sure what hit them, whether it was the car or the bench.”
The woman driving the white SUV that caused the crash was also injured, but refused treatment or transport to UAMC, Menke said.
The driver was cited for unsafe backing, Dugan said.