Chaos ensues after empty car hits woman

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / May 27, 2011

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Several people who saw a car accident on Wednesday that trapped a woman under a BMW at a Beacon Hill intersection described a chaotic scene, with panicked witnesses and broken glass and blood visible on the street.

The crash was “absolutely terrifying,’’ said Augustina Wheelis, 27, who saw the unoccupied BMW rolling fast backward.

She said yesterday that the vehicle struck a yellow Smart car at the intersection of Mt. Vernon and Charles streets. “I just knew something bad happened.’’

Steve MacDonald, a Boston Fire Department spokesman, said Wednesday that the BMW struck a woman walking in the intersection and pinned her down, requiring firefighters to lift the vehicle with a heavy-duty jack to free her. She was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with life-threatening injuries including several bone fractures and a serious head wound, a Boston police report said.

A witness said the 45-year-old woman, whom authorities did not identify, was dragged across the intersection before she was trapped. She remained in guarded condition yesterday at the hospital, according to a police spokesman. The victim had been walking through a crosswalk when she was struck, police said.

According to the report, the operator of the BMW told officers he had double-parked on Mt. Vernon Street and set the car’s emergency brake before exiting the car to visit his uncle.

The driver of the BMW, whom the Globe is not identifying because he has not been criminally charged, declined to comment when reached by phone.

Wheelis said the man ran toward the scene after he learned what happened. “It was quite obvious he was panicked,’’ she said.

Also stunned were patrons on the patio at Café Vanille, who had been relaxing a few feet away, according to Fernando Vargas, 38, who works in the cafe. He said patrons “were in shock over there’’ after the Smart car crashed into a street lamp.

A clerk at the Charles Street Market, across the street from the crash, said he went outside and saw the woman on a stretcher. “Her mouth was moving,’’ said the clerk, who declined to be named.

No one has been charged or cited in the case, a police spokesman said yesterday, but the investigation is ongoing.

Travis Andersen can be reached at