Witnesses shocked, startled by big rig accident
POSTED: Saturday, July 23, 2011 - 2:16pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 11:53pm
BATON ROUGE (NBC33) - — Scary moments Saturday morning at Tire Kingdom near the intersecation of Airline HWY and Florida BLVD in Baton Rouge. An 18-wheeler went crashing through the tire store. NBC33's David D'Aquin has been tracking this story and found out - despite all the damage, everyone is OK.
Take a look at what's left of Tire Kingdom. It's hard to believe there weren't any serious injuries. "A very surreal experience when it happened," explains Tire Kingdom Regional Manager Austin Corona. "Shock! Absolute shock," Corona tells NBC33.
One Tire Kingdom employee was pulling a Ford Explorer into the work bay to put on new tires when the big rig came off Airline HWY and was headed straight for the building. Corona explains, "The side airbag went off and it gave him a concussion. The very good news is it was just a mild concussion. He's already been released from the hospital."
NBC33 News has learned the driver of the big rig was headed to New Orleans with a truckload of fresh produce when he had a seizure and lost control. Corona says, "it crashed into two employees vehicles, which are both totalled out completely. Then into the parking lot and destroyed the frong of our building."
The driver of the truck has been treated and released from a local hospital. Tire Kingdom called in rental car companies to get their customers taken care of. Customers like Charles Jefferson who was just expecting to have his tires changed. "It sounded like a lot of rumbling and tumbling. Kind of like a freight train," explains Jenfferson. He was in the waiting room as the big rig came barrelling toward the building. Jefferson says, "Hit, hit, hit, hit! and eventually it crashed into the third bay. And, that's when it really thumped and came to a complete stop."
And, although everyone is shaken up, Jefferson says it could have been much worse. "As far as an automobile, that stuff is replaceable."
Right now, company officials are trying to assess the damage. They hope to be back in business soon.