Mechanical failure cited in accident at Wendy's ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

August 24, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

A mechanical failure is being blamed for an accident that sent 24 people to area hospitals when a Buick crashed through the window of a Millersville fast-food restaurant Friday, Anne Arundel County police reported.

Investigators yesterday said it appears the impact of a two-car collision moments earlier damaged the transmission of a 1980 Buick Regal, causing it to slip into reverse and speed across the Wendy's parking lot.

"The motor shifted and the transmission was thrown into reverse," police spokesman Officer Terry Crowe said. "The throttle was jammed open and the car just took off."

No one has been charged in the 1 p.m. accident in the 8200 block of Veterans Highway, which sent restaurant patrons screaming and running for cover when they saw the car heading their way.

Although police do not know how many people were inside the restaurant, witnesses said it it was packed with the lunchtime crowd.

Police said the Buick was heading north on Veterans Highway when it hit a 1984 Volkswagen Jetta pulling out of Wendy's.

The Buick then backed up 50 feet, jumped an 18-inch brick skirting and crashed through the restaurant's ground-to-ceiling plate-glass windows.

A van that was stopped in the far right lane had blocked the view of both drivers.

The car rolled slowly at first, then suddenly picked up speed before it smashed into the window, witnesses said.

Neither the driver of the Buick, Gladys Rachel Albert, 67, of the 8700 block of Veterans Highway in Millersville nor the driver of the Volkswagen, Brian Scott Woodward, 18, of the 300 block of Redwood Grove Court in Millersville, was seriously hurt. Jessica Lynn Albert, 8, a passenger in the Buick, also escaped serious injury.

All three were taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center, where they were treated and released.

All of the other accident victims also were treated at area hospitals and released, including four who were taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

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