Car crashes into Barco Law Building

By Olivia Garber

A woman crashed a vehicle into the Barco Law Building yesterday shortly after 10 p.m., leaving… A woman crashed a vehicle into the Barco Law Building yesterday shortly after 10 p.m., leaving her dark Ford SUV embedded in the concrete wall facing Forbes Avenue.

Scattered piles of debris marked the path the woman drove. Witnesses said the vehicle came out of the Towers garage, heading straight toward David Lawrence Hall and the Barco Law Building.

The scraps of black plastic left behind made it look as if the woman had driven between two concrete pillars about 15 feet apart, straight through a narrow space between the curve of David Lawrence and another pillar about 10 feet away, and then down the nearby stairs before making impact with the Barco Law Building.

A gaping hole outlined the front of the vehicle, with the SUV’s bumper penetrating the concrete wall.

“Laws of physics,” EMS District Chief Steve Carlson said when describing what happened. “Two objects can’t occupy the same place.”

Sgt. Sam Salvio of the Pitt police said the vehicle went through the wall into an office space. No one was in the office when the vehicle crashed, he said.

Salvio said that “big blocks of concrete blew across the floor.”

A building inspector arrived last night to examine the building. An e-mail from Mary Crossley, dean of the law school, said the building was declared safe and classes will run as normal today.

He did not confirm the age of the woman driving the car, or if she was a Pitt student. He did say, however, that she was conscious and alert when paramedics carried her out on a stretcher at about 10:30 p.m.

Carlson said she was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. Her condition was not made public by midnight last night.

Kyle Deroner, a Pitt senior, was in Towers Garage when he saw the crash. Deroner, who was also driving at the time, saw the woman was about to leave the garage when she abruptly reversed. The car then “floored it across the street … and head-on into the building,” he said.

When the car hit the Barco Law Building, Ify Mkparu said she could feel a big “boom.”

The senior at Duquesne was practicing for a fashion show with Pitt’s African Students Organization. The group was inside the lobby of David Lawrence Hall when the accident occurred.

“First it was a boom,” she said. She and several other women from the group went outside to see what had happened.

Mkparu said she saw a woman step out of the car, staggering and unsteady on her feet.

A police officer later walked over to Mkparu and the three women she was with, asking if they knew what had happened. He questioned them about stories that a male passenger had exited the car and left the scene.

Mkparu told police that a man came out of the passenger side to check on the woman. He then shook her — Mkparu said it looked as if he was asking her if she was OK.

Salvio did not know for certain last night whether a man had in fact been inside the car. He also said the cause of the accident was “under investigation.”

The car was removed from the building about 11:40 p.m.

Check Friday for updates.