Car crashes into Mercedes-Benz showroom on Midlothian

By Tara Morgan - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An unexpected mess at a luxury car dealership. It's not what you normally see on the showroom floor at Mercedes-Benz on Midlothian Turnpike.

There is a gaping hole in the showroom after a customer hit the gas instead of the brake – and a quick-thinking soldier came to her rescue.

He was here to shop for a new car, but instead Private First Class Antoine Purnell put his Fort Lee training to use. A  customer backed her $40,000 birthday gift into the showroom at around 2:30 Friday.

"I noticed this truck kept moving it wouldn't stop and she went through the glass," he said.

Employees at Mercedes-Benz of Richmond thought much worse was happening the moment the glass shattered.

"People thought gunshots were coming in there it was a loud explosion and a little panic," said general manager Kevin Gonzalez.

Without second thought, Purnell jumped into action.

"She was kind of panicking and everything like that so I just reached in and grabbed her out, cut the car off and away from the glass it kept falling."

Gonzalez says the woman was on the lot for a replacement key.

"Unfortunately she hit the gas pedal rather than the brake and ended up giving us a drive thru in the showroom," he said.

Purnell who's headed for his first hardship tour in Korea doesn't consider himself a hero.

"Didn't expect it, but we came that's what we train hard for anything unexpected we know how to react to it," he said.

Purnell was just shopping for a new car at the time. The woman was not hurt, just shaken up.

Police were called but no report was taken.  A building inspector determined there was no structural damage so the dealership can stay in business.  No word on just how much repairs will cost.

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