---- — LAWRENCE — An employee of Thrifty Car Rental accidentally drove a Ford Econoline van she was preparing to rent into the business’ building at 273 S. Union St. yesterday morning, according to police.
When Lawrence police Officer John Fornesi arrived, he found the van “completely immersed into the building showroom,” he wrote in his report. He noted “heavy damage” to the building, with glass, bricks and cinder blocks scattered throughout the showroom.
Marian Liz Ruiz, 26, of Lawrence, told the officer she was attempting to pull the van from its parking spot to bring to a customer at the time of the accident.
As soon as she put the vehicle shift in drive, it immediately accelerated about 50 feet and drove through the building. Ruiz said she applied the brakes, but couldn’t stop or slow the van down, according to Fornesi.
Ruiz received minor injuries to her right arm and right leg and also complained of back pain, but refused medical attention at the scene, police said.
A witness told police he was standing in the parking lot when Ruiz went to get the van for him.
“He then looks up and sees the vehicle plunge into the building at a high rate of speed,” Fornesi wrote in his report. The accident remains under investigation.