AUBURN – A woman driving through the Auburn Mall parking lot Wednesday found herself inside the building moments later. The problem was, she was still sitting inside her truck.
Nobody was hurt in the 5:15 p.m. crash when a pickup crashed through a wall at the former site of Porteous and came to rest completely inside the building.
Police said Natalie E. Cartmel, 21, of Lewiston was driving near the Turner Street end of the mall when she accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake.
The truck lurched into the side of the building, smashing a gaping hole into the wall and sending bricks tumbling both inside and out, police said.
It continued into the empty building, coming to rest roughly 2 feet from the inside of the wall before Cartmel brought it to a stop.
Inside the Dodge, Cartmel and Jonathan M. Guyette, 24, of Mechanic Falls, a passenger and owner of the truck, sat dazed but unhurt.
When police and fire crews arrived, along with building owner George Schott, the challenge was determining how to get the truck out of the building. Towing it back through the hole would have caused greater damage to the building, police said.
Instead, several people got behind the truck and pushed it through the empty store to a loading dock on the other side. From there, the heavily damaged Dodge could be easily towed away.
Damage to the building was extensive, with the hole in the building measuring roughly 7 feet wide by 7 feet tall. The amount of damage was not immediately known.
Schott and others boarded up the hole while awaiting repairs. Shopping at the mall was not disrupted by the crash.