ALCESTER, S.D. (AP) — Two people were killed and six others hurt when an 81-year-old woman drove into a group of people and then into a nursing home Monday in southeast South Dakota in an apparent accident, authorities said.
The woman, who had pulled into a driveway close to the building, appears to have stepped on the gas instead of the brakes, hitting seven people who were exiting Alcester Care and Rehab Center with a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix, the state Highway Patrol said in a statement. Authorities said the driver — who hasn’t been identified — was among those injured, a group that also included center employees and residents.
Highway Patrol spokesman Tony Mangan had no immediate information about the conditions of the injured, whom he said were taken to hospitals in Sioux Falls and Hawarden, Iowa, and Sioux City, Iowa. Alcester, a town of about 800 people, is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Sioux Falls.
Jayson Pullman, chief executive of Hawarden Regional Healthcare, said four of the injured were treated at his hospital. He said he believed three had been returned to the nursing home, with the fourth transferred by helicopter to another hospital.
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The other hospitals said they could provide no information without patient names. None of the victims of the crash were immediately identified. The nursing home’s administrator declined an interview.
“It’s horrible,” Highway Patrol Capt. Jason Husby said. “Especially the situation we had here where there’s a group of people. A lot of people are affected by this.”
The Highway Patrol says the investigation will likely take days to complete.
Hours after the crash, a blue tarp was draped across the entrance to the nursing home. A maintenance worker later did work on a shattered window beside the cracked and damaged door.
Eldean Kjose, whose yard looks onto the nursing home, was rolling up his hose so he could mow the lawn when he heard sirens approaching. The 81-year-old retiree said he watched several people get loaded into ambulances, knowing the situation was serious.
“I’ve never heard of an accident like this,” Kjose said. “It’s a shocker to know that can happen, but accidents can happen so quick.”
This story has been updated to show that six people, not eight, were injured in the fatal crash.