HAMPTON - Three people standing on a sidewalk were injured Tuesday afternoon after they were struck by a car that went off Ocean Boulevard and stopped only after crashing into concrete columns.
The pedestrians – two men and a woman – were hit around 2:20 p.m. in front of the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom near the intersection of D Street and Ocean Boulevard. They were rushed to Portsmouth Regional Hospital, but their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, Hampton Deputy Police Chief Rich Sawyer said.
The car was traveling north on Ocean Boulevard when it sideswiped a truck parked in a loading zone, rear-ended another vehicle sitting in traffic, and then continued north and eventually hit the pedestrians before slamming into two columns attached to the Casino Ballroom, Sawyer said.
One of the male pedestrians suffered a fractured leg while the second man received a head injury and neck laceration. The woman suffered minor leg abrasions, Sawyer said.
The 49-year-old male driver and his female passenger were transported to Exeter Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
“We're not quite sure what occurred. We haven't really had a chance to talk to him to get his perspective on what happened. We don't know if it was something medical, we're not sure,” Sawyer said.
The occupants of the other vehicles involved weren't hurt.
Police have not yet released the names of those involved in the accident.
Sawyer was in the area at the time of the accident.
“We just heard people screaming and yelling and running,” he said. “This could have been a lot more serious. We're just lucky that there weren't more pedestrians.”
Workers at The Whale's Tale 2 restaurant said a mother, young child in a stroller, and a grandmother who were eating pizza on the sidewalk just seconds before the accident.
Sera Fowler, a restaurant manager, said the mother had just taken her child out of the stroller and they ran when they saw the car coming. They weren't hurt, but the stroller was crushed, she said.
“They were just hysterical,” she said of the family, who sat inside the restaurant located in front of the accident scene to fill out an incident report.
Restaurant co-owner Kevin Jacques said many of the customers inside the restaurant were upset.
“We heard it and we felt it,” he said.
Devin Dorin, who works for Casino Fast Food, said he saw the car “drifting” off Ocean Boulevard and then hit the column. “I saw smoke and then everybody started running around,” he said.
Tom Pawley of Cell Accessories said he heard the crash and people screaming. He said he saw people on the ground when he came out of the store to see what happened.
Pawley said he was surprised that more people weren't hurt.
“It was packed. There were literally hundreds out here,” he said.