An elderly couple suffered injuries in a serious accident at about 12:30 p.m. Friday when their car raced out of control across a parking lot and then across four lanes of traffic before jumping the curb and smashing into the corner of a house.
The incident began after the couple left the Pick n' Save store at 8151 Blue Mound Road, in Milwaukee, and ended with the front of the car wrapped around a stone planter box at the front corner of a home in Wauwatosa at the corner of Blue Mound and North 84th Street.
Both the Milwaukee and s responded, and two Tosa paramedic units took the couple to Froedtert Hospital, said Asst. Fire Chief Jim Case.
"We both showed up," Case said. "There was a little confusion about where it was, but we probably would have both come anyway because lives are the first thing we worry about, and we'll sort the other stuff out later."
"It does not appear that the injuries were life-threatening," Case said. At the time, he said, the medical units were still at the hospital. The couple has not been identified. Their car's air bags deployed properly in the crash.
Milwaukee police handled the accident investigation. Case said that in such an incident, it is the jurisdiction where the event began that typically investigates.
Navy veteran James L. Marinkovich, who served in the Vietnam War, was handing out poppies for donations at the Pick n' Save and said that the couple had come out of the store and put some money in his bucket, and he had handed them poppies.
He saw them walking toward a car parked in a handicapped space near the entrance, then turned away. Moments later, he heard an engine roar and tires squeal and turned to see the car racing away.
"The car took off, squealing tires, headed toward those cars, careened off, hit that white car, hit the silver car, drove off between the silver car parked there and the gas station.
"They were going extremely fast, I would estimate 40, 50 miles an hour. Seemed like the car was out of control because when he took off, the tires were squealing and he went just like a rocket.
"My first thought was somebody robbed the store, then I realized who it was."
At Heffe's Service and BP gas station, 8235 Blue Mound Road, owner Scott Heppe saw the other end of the accident.
"We heard a couple of crashes down in the parking lot, and I snuck around the corner to see what was going on, all I heard was a car coming full bore up the alleyway, shot straight across, jumped the median, crossed into the neighbor's yard and wound up in the flower bed, just missing the house.
"There was nothing stopping that car, it was full tilt all the way. I've never had a car in the shop here that I ever had RPMing that high.
"He traveled a long ways. We're very fortunate, there's enough schools around here, there were no kids out at the time. Traffic, there wasn't a car coming either direction on Glenview, missed all that.
"How he missed everything, that's a blessing."
Marinkovich said that not a half hour before the accident, a long line of schoolkids had been walking along the sidewalk.
"Boy, if those kids had been there then, that'd have been awful," he said.