Four people injured when van drives through building

Four people are in the hospital this morning after a van drove into a building on the west side of South Bend.

It happened just before 2:30 a.m. in the 500-block of South Chapin Street, that’s just southeast of the Western and Chapin intersection. The building is a vacant building that has been boarded up.

The force of the impact was so severe, the building actually collapsed around the vehicle.

“I heard the skid, and the I heard something, like it crashed and as you see, the car is in the building,” said Phillip Thornton, a witness to the accident. “When I got out here, I didn’t realize it was a whole car inside the building.”

There were four people in the van at the time of the accident. Thornton says he was able to help two of them get out right after it happened. But one person remained trapped in the car for nearly an hour and a half before being freed by a tactical rescue team.

All four people were taken to a hospital, and their conditions are currently unknown.

Thornton said it was the worst accident he’s seen in the area.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, and right now it’s unclear if the alcohol or the rainy conditions were possible factors.

The roads around the building, including both lanes of Chapin, are still blocked off this morning, so you should avoid the area if you can.

AEP crews have shut down power to the building, just in case it should collapse more.