A jeep crashed into a kids gym in Glen Allen, during a birthday party Sunday afternoon. Henrico police say the driver's foot slipped, prompting the jeep to excel through the front lobby of The Little Gym, off Staples Mill Road.
Even though the jeep barreled through the room, none of the kids, parents or employees were in its path. That's incredibly lucky, says the gym's director, Jaimie Quackenbush. She says in a few minutes, that area would have been full.
"The fact that it happened exactly where it did and when it did, is incredible," said Quackenbush.
"We see a truck careening… straight through the window, and it doesn't stop," described Jonathan Carey, an employee who was working the party.
Carey says he and the family members watched in disbelief as the driver smashed through the front windows, bending a parking sign and careening across the room, smashing the front desk.
"Your first initial reaction is, 'Is this serious?'... almost like you're dreaming!" said Carey.
If the jeep had crashed into either of the two adjacent windows, the vehicle would have plowed into the facility's main room. At the time, it was filled with 20 children and 30 to 40 adults. Quackenbush also says that in another five minutes, the whole group would have moved into the lobby, which was right in the jeep's wild path.
"There would have been the 20 kids, plus adults in the lobby, putting on their shoes… actually going up to the front desk, where it happened, to get goody bags," added Quackenbush, of the travesty that was somehow avoided.
Henrico police say the driver of the jeep was picking up his child at the party. Police wrote him a reckless driving ticket.
The Little Gym won't reopen until all repairs are finished. This means summer camps hosted by the gym will have to be canceled.
Next door, a new frozen yogurt shop, Twister'z, was celebrating its grand opening. The shop served up treats for the shaken staff of the gym, and to an entire birthday party of kids scheduled for a party at the gym later in that afternoon. Their plans had to be rearranged.
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