Car Backs Into Crossroads Shopping Mall

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COLUMBIA - DeAnna Bartlett entered notes from the meeting with her last client.  It was typical protocol for a typical Wednesday afternoon.  She sat at her desk next to the window of the Jenny Craig office at the Crossroads Mall in Columbia, when she noticed her client walking back towards her.  Bartlett didn't think anything of the car backing towards the building, until it backed onto the curb.

And then, it backed through the entrance.

"I heard the breaking glass, but the building shook," Bartlett said of the impact of the crash.

The car, described by the Columbia Fire Department as a brown or tan sedan, broke through the double doors of the mall, located at 2101 West Broadway--ironically, underneath the AAA sign.  The doors were bent from the bottom nearly a foot inwards, and the car making it about two feet inside the shopping center's lobby.  As employees of nearby stores began to run out and check the situation, the car shifted into "drive" and sped off.

"I just kind of expected that somebody maybe accidentally hit the wrong pedal, or something like that, and that they were going to get out and make sure they hadn't hurt somebody, and the next thing I know, they're gone," Bartlett said.

No one was able to get a good look at the driver's license plate.  With glass and other debris littering the area around the entrance, employees in the shopping center wasted no time in cleaning the area.

"Some of the girls from the other stores were already over there sweeping up the glass before the fire department even got there, trying to clean up to make sure nobody would get hurt," Bartlett said.  "Some of the guys were standing outside, making sure nobody was trying to get through those doors.  And then the fire department was here in just a matter of minutes and had it all taped off."

Along with the yellow tape, repair people had to replace the door frames and the glass above the doors.  No one was hurt in the incident.