Driver injured in £60k smash at Sunderland showroom

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A DRIVER ploughed through £60,000-worth of cars outside a showroom after being taken ill at the wheel.

The woman complained of feeling hot minutes before the accident in the forecourt of a garage in Sunderland.

Staff watched in horror as her white Ford Fiesta smashed into cars parked outside Aspect Garage in Ryhope Road, Grangetown.

Garage owner Asa Dobbing was selling a car to a customer when the drama unfolded shortly before 5pm yesterday.

The 34-year-old, from Grangetown, said: “We’re not sure if she has passed out or what, but she drove the car and crashed into all of my cars.

“Obviously I ran to try and get her out.

“She has caused about £60,000 of damage.”

Along with father, Tommy, 61, Mr Dobbing tried to free the woman from her car, which had flipped onto its side, after hitting a VW Scirocco, Toyota Rav 4, Renault Clio, two VW Golfs and two Fiat 500s.

Firecrews from Sunderland central and Fulwell stations used specialist cutting equipment to free the woman, believed to be 58 years old, and stabilise the car.

The woman, who was conscious after the smash, was placed on a spinal board and taken by ambulance to Sunderland Royal Hospital.

She is being treated for suspected back and leg injuries, which are not thought to be life threatening.

Daniel Gartland, 26, who manages Home Living next to the garage, said the woman was in the store minutes before the smash, and also bought an ice-cream from Natalie Doda, 28, who works in the in-store Cappuccino Cafe.

Mr Gartland, who lives in Ashbrooke, said: “I was talking to her and she seemed quite normal.

“She said she was hot and came back in for an ice-cream.

“We heard a big bang and came out with the fire extinguishers, but we didn’t need them.”

Firefighters had to cut the roof off the woman’s car to free her.

The car came to a halt up against a metal fence, leaving a trail of destruction behind it.

Road maps and personal possessions were left scattered around the stricken vehicle, while accident investigation officers took photos of the damage.

Victoria Pike, 28, from Queen Street, also saw the collision.

She said: “She came out of the shop and got in the car, then she crashed into about five or six cars and the car landed on its side.

“I went over to see if she was alright.”

Officers from Northumbria Police are investigating why the woman crashed.

It is not known whether the heatwave – which saw temperatures reach the mid-20s yesterday – could have caused her to pass out.

Twitter: @janethejourno