A sheltered bus stop in north Minneapolis was left mangled and shards of glass covered the sidewalk after an 83-year-old driver plowed into it early Tuesday morning, injuring six people inside, the Star Tribune reported.
Three were rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
“Nobody could believe what happened” witness Shauntae Cosby told the newspaper, recalling the grim scene. “It was just quiet.”
The crash unfolded on W. Broadway between Lyndale and Aldrich avenues just before 9:30 a.m.
Cosby was among several bystanders who rushed to help those wounded after the van reportedly accelerated and jumped the curb before crashing into the crowed bus stop, a popular hang out spot. She said the car landed on at least one man, pinning him to the ground.
Witnesses screamed at the motorist, who they said then hopped out of his van and stood motionless, staring at the scene.
“He didn’t look worried, and he showed no remorse,” said Cosby.
Three of the victims were critically injured, while two others were taken to a local area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Another victim was treated and later released at the scene, according to the newspaper.
Authorities are still working to determine exactly what caused the crash. Howie Padilla, a spokesman for Metro Transit police, said the incident was not the result of a chase and police haven’t said whether drugs or alcohol were involved.
In an interview, Padilla told Atlanta Black Star the driver was headed south on Lyndale Avenue when his van clipped the mirror of a Route 22 bus that had stopped to let off passengers on W. Broadway. He then reversed, hitting the mirror a second time, before shifting back into drive to go forward and turn right at the corner — around the bus — and barrel into the bus stop.
Officers took the driver into custody but released him late Tuesday pending further investigation into the incident. At this point, it’s unclear if and when charges will be filed.
“We’re going to wait and see, and carry this investigation to its completion,” Padilla told ABS, adding that one it’s done, the case will be handed over to the county attorney’s office.
Several eyewitnesses posted video of the “unbelievable” scene to social media, and offered a much different take on the events of that morning. Twitter user @thesavoyshow cited reports from witnesses claiming the crash was “a very deliberate attack by a racist” targeting the majority-Black passengers at the bus stop.
“There was a white man who drove around the block several times and crashed into the bus stop intentionally where a bunch of brothers and sisters were hanging out,” he says in a video posted online.
“It’s a tragedy, I’m talking about a severe tragedy,” he adds, noting that paramedics were working to save those still trapped in the carnage. “As you can see, it’s crazy.”
Meanwhile, the motorist as was seated back in his van as angry locals shouted for police to “put him in handcuffs and put him in the back seat!” One bystander argued that if the man was Black, officers would “have him on the ground by now.”
“He’s smiling and smirking,” said another. “And they [police] are talking to him like ain’t nothing wrong … he knocked these people out of their shoes, their clothes.”
Police said they’re still reviewing the incident and will look at surveillance video from surrounding businesses to help them piece together what happened.
Watch more in the videos below.