COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A 16-year-old driver walked away with just a minor injury Monday after wrecking her mother's vehicle in such a unique way that authorities don't believe she could repeat it even if she tried.
The accident happened about 12:50 p.m. when a 16-year-old girl took a very sharp turn near 2500 E. Fort Union Blvd., went up and over the curb, jumped a set of bushes and dropped 15-feet down an embankment, hitting a business patio on a 45-degree angle, said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Scott Peck.
"We hear the brakes and we hear a huge thud, and we have no idea. And we run out and we see the car off the edge," said John Moyer, who was working in the building when the accident occurred."We're extremely grateful no one was hurt."
Moyer said initially when he and his co-workers ran outside, they were looking for an accident on Ft. Union.
"You're looking around the street for cars. You don't realize it's off a ledge, down an embankment," he said.
The girl was able to walk out of the car on her own power with only a sprained ankle. The vehicle, however, was wedged into such a tight space that a crane had to be driven from Ogden to lift it out.
"Literally the car landed feet from somebody's desk. There are just so many possibilities that are tragic of what could have happened," Moyer said,
While investigators don't know exactly how it happened, they have a good idea of why it happened.
"Definitely distracted driving," Peck said. "She either had to be distracted by her phone or doing something because this is an impossible turn."
Investigators believe the girl intended to make a right turn where she did, but she likely missed the turnoff and then tried to make up for it by attempting a hard turn. She was wearing her seat belt and an air bag deployed, possibly saving her from more serious injuries.
"She is so fortunate," Peck said.
Moyer said the girl was crying and seemed extremely upset after the accident. He overheard her say something about the brakes going out.
But Peck said investigators don't believe that's what happened. "We have not found evidence of that," he said.
The building did not suffer any permanent structural damage. However, rescue crews had to put extra bracing on the porch while trying to get the vehicle out.