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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

2-car collision leads to tree crash


It started with a bang.

IU sophomore Xinya Cheng was driving north on Woodlawn Avenue in her white Mini Cooper, boyfriend Jincheng Liu in the passenger seat. He was visiting her on his spring break from the University of Delaware.

Donn Hall was pulling up to the stop sign at the intersection of Woodlawn Avenue and Cottage Grove Avenue in his blue 2012 Camaro. It was finally clean, he said, because of all the rain.

Hall began to drive away from the stop sign, and Cheng slammed into the front left tire of his car, in a burst of smoke. The bang echoed for blocks.

Liu got out of the passenger side of the car and began yelling at Hall.

“He didn’t stop,” Liu said.

IU junior Vincent Rowold was walking to class with his friend and IU junior Eli Staton when the two heard the crash and turned. As they watched, the Mini Cooper began to roll backward.

With Cheng still in the car, the car began to roll south on Woodlawn. She had forgotten to put the car in park. However, rather than applying the brakes, she jumped out of the moving car, and the passenger-less car began to pick up speed.

Rowold ran across the street as the car veered west onto a lawn. The car’s back tires went over a stone wall, and for a moment the Mini Cooper stopped, shuddering.

Then it began to do a 180-degree turn, back toward Woodlawn Avenue.

As the car began rolling toward the street again, now facing south, Rowold ripped open the passenger door of the moving car. He said he was going to try to dive inside to stop the car but, before he could, the car had moved past him, brushing a telephone pole that caused the door he’d opened to slam shut.

Staton ran to the intersection of 10th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, yelling at students to get out of the way, while the car continued to roll down Woodlawn Avenue.

Students screamed and dashed out of the way. Cars in the way of the Mini Cooper began to reverse as much as they could.

Still gathering speed, the car crossed 10th Street, through traffic, and careened over the curb on the southwest corner of the intersection of 10th and Woodlawn Avenue. Leaving tire tracks in the mud and flowerbeds behind it, the car crashed into a tree outside of Collins, causing all of the air bags to deploy.

No one reported serious injuries by press time, although the drivers of both vehicles did report soreness and some seatbelt lacerations from the initial crash.

Within an hour, the scene was cleaned up. Emergency vehicles had towed away the Mini Cooper, and ambulances and firemen had dispersed. However, bricks still lay scattered where the car had hit the wall, and scrapes line the telephone pole and tree where the car made contact.

IUPD could not be reached for comment.

Between the time of the accident and press time, BFD had not released an official statement.

Follow reporters Hannah Smith and Amanda Marino on Twitter @hannsmit and @amandanmarino.

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