Police believe that a woman in her 70s accidentally pushed the accelerator sending her into a business on the 1900 block of NW Atkinson Wednesday afternoon. While the woman was transported to the hospital for precaution, witnesses at neighboring businesses were upset about the response time from first responders.
"(The driver) is saying she hit the brake, but I know she hit the accelerator. She was trapped in there for 25 to 30 minutes before anyone got here," said Lydia Garza, an employee at a neighboring business. "Thank God everyone was okay. It sounded like a bomb and I ran out the front door...We went to check on the driver. She said she was ok, but she was crying."
The one employee, inside the business, was able to avoid injury by moving out of the way.
"There are skid marks that indicate the driver, Mrs. Vera, probably pressed on the accelerator and went through the glass door and windows," said Officer Herman Arellano.
The accident is under investigation. No citations were given at the time.
According to police officials, the (fire responders) were not the first people called; not by the elderly woman and not by witnesses. Instead the elderly woman called the wrecker service, her adult son and than she called the non-emergency line at the police department as she sat "trapped" in her car.
The first call about the incident, that police received, was at 12:05 p.m. from the wrecker service employee who said the driver called them to remove her from the building. Dispatchers dispatched police, fire and EMS personnel at 12:06 p.m.
The first and only 9-1-1 call was made at 12:06 p.m., according to police officials. The caller stated the lady was fine just trapped in the car. The first units arrived on the scene at 12:14 p.m. for a response time of eight minutes.
A witness, who wanted to remain anonymous, who claims to be the 9-1-1 caller said that she and other people waited to see how long it would take for first responders to arrive which was approximately 25 minutes.
"Our rule of thumb if you have an emergency, call 9-1-1. We teach everyone that when they have an emergency to call 9-1-1," said Lt. Luis Barrera with the Alice PD. "If you can't call 9-1-1, call out to somebody to call 9-1-1."