Four hospitalized and five injured after driver of pick-up truck crashes into COVID-19 test site

Four are hospitalized and five others injured after driver of pick-up truck crashes into COVID-19 testing site at University of Utah football stadium after 'suffering medical emergency'

  • Police say the driver entered the testing site in the west parking lot at Rice Eccles Stadium, in Salt Lake City, the wrong way shortly after 9:45am local time
  • The driver was then redirected to the correct entrance, but as he was turning his car around he suddenly accelerated forward and ploughed into the test station 
  • Four people, including the driver and three University of Utah Health employees, were taken to local hospitals to be treated for undisclosed injuries 
  • Five others were treated at the scene for minor injuries, officials said
  • Captain Anthony Burton of the Salt Lake City Fire Department told DailyMail.com that it appeared the incident was spurred by a 'medical emergency' 

By Luke Kenton For Dailymail.com

Published: 19:25, 5 November 2020 | Updated: 21:32, 5 November 2020

Four people have been hospitalized and five other injured after a pick-up truck crashed into a COVID-19 testing site at the University of Utah football stadium Thursday morning.

Police say the driver entered the testing site in the west parking lot at Rice Eccles Stadium, in Salt Lake City, the wrong way shortly after 9:45am local time.

The driver was then redirected to the correct entrance, but as he was turning his car around he suddenly accelerated forward and ploughed into the testing station.

Four people, including the driver of the pickup and three University of Utah Health employees, were taken to local hospitals to be treated for undisclosed injuries. Five others were treated at the scene.

Captain Anthony Burton of the Salt Lake City Fire Department told DailyMail.com that it appeared the incident was caused by a 'medical emergency' and was not an intentional act.

Police say the driver entered the testing site in the west parking lot at Rice Eccles Stadium, in Salt Lake City, the wrong way shortly after 9:45am local time

Four hospitalized and five injured after driver of pick-up truck crashes into COVID-19 test site

The driver was then redirected to the correct entrance, but as he was turning his car around he suddenly accelerated forward and ploughed into the testing station

Four hospitalized and five injured after driver of pick-up truck crashes into COVID-19 test site

Four people, including the driver of the pickup and three University of Utah Health employees, were taken to local hospitals to be treated for undisclosed injuries. Five others were treated at the scene

The driver, who was male, also struck two other vehicles before crashing into the testing site. It's unclear how fast he was going.

Pictures and video from the scene show the black truck significantly damaged two mobile shacks the site, causing one of the structures to collapse in on its side.

When emergency responders arrived the driver was still inside the vehicle, which was still attempting to drive forward, according to Burton.

Burton said a specialty rescue crew was quickly able to stabilize the damaged structures to ensure first responders could safely get to the vehicle.

Burton was unable to confirm the age of the driver.

The Fire Captain said the man was taken to hospital in a 'moderate medical condition', with non-life threatening injuries.

The other victims were all described as having 'lesser' injuries than the driver.

Burton said it was remarkable that the crash didn't cause 'immediate fatalities'.

'Initial reports from the scene and from witnesses suggest the driver suffered a medical emergency and wasn't in control of the vehicle at the time of the crash,' Burton said.

'The incident is currently under investigation. There's a lot of surveillance cameras around the testing site and police will be looking at the footage.' 

Burton said the biggest impact of this crash will be felt by Salt Lake City's COVID-19 testing centers, as the state grapples with record-high hospitalizations and rising case numbers.

Four hospitalized and five injured after driver of pick-up truck crashes into COVID-19 test site

The driver, who was male, also struck two other vehicles before crashing into the testing site. It's unclear how fast he was going

Four hospitalized and five injured after driver of pick-up truck crashes into COVID-19 test site

Captain Anthony Burton of the Salt Lake City Fire Department told DailyMail.com that it appeared the incident was spurred by a 'medical emergency' and was not an intentional act 

Four hospitalized and five injured after driver of pick-up truck crashes into COVID-19 test site

Burton said it was remarkable that the crash didn't cause 'immediate fatalities' 

#Breaking: 9 people injured- 4 transported to hospital, 5 treated and released on scene. Truck ploughs into a COVID testing center at the University of Utah football stadium parking lot.

Initial investigation indicate driver had a possible medical emergency. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/GdSai2OWqm

-- Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) November 5, 2020

The testing center at the Rice Eccles Stadium, which was opened just three weeks ago, has been temporarily closed.

All scheduled appointments have been rerouted to other testing sites in the area for at least the next two days.

Burton said it's unclear how long the site will remain closed for.

Construction workers have been on the scene throughout the morning and afternoon stabilizing and repairing the site's structures.

Burton added that he's hopeful the other clinics will be able to successfully bear the burden of the site's patients until it's back up and running.

University of Utah Deputy Police Chief Jason Hinojosa also said it was fortunate there weren't more injuries.

'When you look at the damage and see the speed of the truck coming in, it could have been much much worse,' he told Deseret News

On Wednesday, Utah's number of COVID-19 cases increased by 2,110 - just 100 shy of breaking the state's single-day record of 2292 cases that was set on Friday.

Utah has only twice reported more than 2,000 cases in a single day since the pandemic began.

Six more deaths were also reported Wednesday, according to the Utah Department of Health. The agency also said that 382 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in the state-- the fourth day in a row it's broken its own record in that statistic.

As a whole, the state has so far reported more than 122,000 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and 625 deaths.

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