The scene outside the Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library in Germantown so resembled an action-movie set Tuesday afternoon that passersby gasped, asked how many people were dead and broke out cell-phone cameras for hours.
A mangled blue BMW 350i resembled a hunk of machinery as it sat behind a police car and amid yellow crime scene tape. One of its tires had flown across the street with shards of glass and pieces of its frame strewn for a half block.
A young child’s winter hat sat on the ground near the intersection while a Chicago Bears cap lay in the street along the path which witnesses reported its driver ran off around 1 p.m.
While police did not release details about the incident by 4 p.m., those on the scene said the BMW had sped along Greene Street and struck a red Chevrolet sedan that was passing along Chelten Avenue. The impact sent the BMW spinning four times until it hit a tree along the side of the library.
“Sounded like a bomb,” said Kevin Ivery, who was inside the library at the time. “Especially when all the glass started flying into the building.”
Ivery said a man, woman and two children were inside the other vehicle which was removed from the scene by 2:45 p.m. Miraculously, none was seriously hurt, he said. The young girl whose winter hat still sat on the ground suffered cuts to her face, though, and received medical treatment.
“They’re lucky they were in the child’s seats,” said Ivery, as he swept up glass and debris from the sidewalk outside the library.
Another witness reported that when the BMW’s tire flew off, a female walking along Greene Street “had to duck so it didn’t hit her.”
With a police officer still working the scene, Ivery noted that the driver ran off immediately after the car came to arrest, with his hat flying off as he fled toward West Maplewood Mall.
“He looked like he was in no pain,” Ivery said of the driver of what those assembled at the scene deemed a stolen vehicle.
Police did not have any description of the man who reportedly ran off from the scene available several hours later, but a man unrelated to the incident claimed the Bears hat as a finders-keepers prize, saying “someone else would” if he didn’t.