A woman who suddenly drove her car into a crowded town square, injuring dozens, likely did so accidentally, authorities in northwest Ohio said Sunday.
All indications are that the 63-year-old woman unintentionally drove her vehicle into the crowd Friday night, Lima police Sgt. Jason Garlock said. About 30 people were injured, and some were pinned under the car and freed when bystanders lifted it.
"Every indication is that it was strictly an accident, that it was not intentional," he said. "Things could change, but at this point in the investigation, it's looking like it was strictly an accident."
Garlock said the woman, whom police have not identified, was briefly detained but was not arrested. She was not injured in the crash, and has been released pending further investigation.
No charges have been filed, but that could change after witnesses are interviewed and a toxicology report is completed, said Garlock. He said both could take weeks.
"This could be a time-lengthy investigation. It can take a bit," he said. "They don't want to rush anything."
The chaotic scene happened in Lima, about 80 miles south of Toledo. More than 1,000 people had gathered for a weekly community event featuring live music when witnesses say the woman plowed her car through a group of people trying to get their last round of beer for the night. About 50 people were in and around its path.
"I could hear the people hitting against the car," said Andrea Scheckelhoss, who was working in a beer truck at the event. "There were shoes flying. I could see people tumbled over. It was just so disturbing."
The car finally stopped when it struck an old sculpture in the square, witnesses said. Some victims suffered serious injuries to their legs, heads and necks, none of them life-threatening, police said. A spokeswoman with St. Rita's Medical Center in Lima said two of four remaining patients had been released as of Sunday afternoon.
The spokeswoman would not say when the patients were released or the extent of any of their injuries. One is in critical but stable condition, and the other has been upgraded to stable condition.
At least one other person was taken to another hospital but was released shortly after.
Lima Police Detective Steve Stechschulte said the Lima-area woman probably drove the car about 50 feet at about 20 mph. Tire marks the following day showed the car's destructive path, including on a sidewalk and a mulch-filled flower bed.