Witness: Elderly driver racing from gunfire before daycare crash - KCTV5

Witness: Elderly driver racing from gunfire before daycare crash

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Note posted outside daycare Wednesday following crash Note posted outside daycare Wednesday following crash

An elderly driver who crashed into a daycare was racing away from a rolling gun battle, a witness told KCTV5 on Wednesday.

Police say they are interviewing witnesses, but have yet to determine the cause of Tuesday's crash.

The 80-year-old driver, who police say caused his SUV and a parked car to hurtle toward a daycare, remains hospitalized, but is conscious and talking, authorities say.

The witness, who asked to have his identity hidden, says he was directly following the elderly driver. He said both he and the man were trying to escape a rolling gun battle between the occupants of two cars. He said the gun battle had begun, when they were traveling east on 27th Street.

"The man in the truck was trying to get out of the way of the gun shots," the witness said. "He was trying to save himself."

The elderly man was driving a black Range Rover. He lost control, and it slammed into a parked silver Cadillac, which careened into Christian Academy Child Care at 3611 E. 27th St.

"A lot of people saw it," the witness said. "But they all scattered."

Three children were taken to the hospital for their injuries. Others inside the daycare were injured, but weren't taken to a hospital.

Della Colbert suffered cuts, bruises and a sprained ankle. She considers it a miracle that no one was more seriously hurt.

"It was the grace of God," she said.

Colbert had just put her class down, for nap time in the front room, when the car plowed into the room. She said she was sitting beside a sleeping child, when she heard a rattling noise and got up to investigate. That's when the car crashed through the wall.

"As soon as I moved the curtain, it was like BOOM! And I was literally in front of the Cadillac getting dragged," she said.

She tried to scramble to her feet, and check on the little ones.

"When I got up, I was out of my mind," she said. "The car was on top of where I had just laid them babies down," she said.

And when she tried to get children out of the crushed building, she discovered a cracked utility pole created more problems.

"The light pole was shocking," she recalled. "There were sparks coming at us, and I'm screaming to get back in, get back in."

She said the children were frightened, but listened to her commands perfectly. She is grateful to the firefighters, passerby's and others who helped rescue all the children and staff members.

Kansas City has declared the building, which suffered extensive damage, as a danger. But the building has not been condemned, as the owners and their insurance company work to restore it. The hope is to reopen the daycare next week. And there will be cement barriers installed outside the business to prevent another car from barreling in.

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