Car plunges from 7th floor of Texas parking garage

Austin, Texas, police said a woman drove her car off the seventh-floor of a nine-level parking garage July 13, 2017, in downtown Austin after mistaking the gas pedal for the brakes. (Provided Photo/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police said a woman drove her car off a parking garage Thursday morning in downtown Austin after mistaking the gas pedal for the brakes.

Police said just before 8:30 a.m. the woman drove her BMW convertible off the seventh floor of the nine-level Littlefield parking garage and fell onto another vehicle in an alley. The crash ruptured a gas line, but crews turned off the gas.

William Birch was parking in the alley to check on a construction project when he heard a weird noise.

“My window was down and I heard something really loud and abnormal, so I started driving forward and the vehicle landed on the backside of my Tahoe.”

If Birch had waited a few more seconds, the BMW would’ve landed right on top of his SUV instead of just clipping the backside. All of his back windows were knocked out but the SUV was still driveable.

“The vehicle landed right here on the corner and just kind of pushed everything down,” Burch said.

Austin-Travis County EMS said the driver is in her 30s. Police said she has serious injuries.

Burch says he’s grateful to be OK. He was on the phone with his mother while parking the SUV in the alley when the BMW came crashing down.

“I can just imagine what she was thinking when I had said, ‘A car just landed on me, I gotta go,’” Burch said.

When asked if he saw the car falling on top of his SUV he said, “No, but I heard it.”

Burch said the only reason the BMW didn’t land directly on top of his SUV is because he heard the commotion overhead and put his car into gear, trying to drive away from danger.

The reason for his reaction was a similar incident in September, when a 24-year-old man drove off the top floor of the same parking garage. While the man got out of his Toyota 4Runner with no injuries, his SUV was left dangling for hours.

A statement from GTT Parking LP, the garage’s owner, said the garage was built in 1979 and only experienced two incidents such as those Thursday and last fall.

The Austin Code Department issued the property a violation on Sept. 14, 2016, citing unsafe conditions, specifically unsafe barrier cable systems.

“After the (September) incident, we engaged a structural engineer to review the situation, and repairs to the safety barriers were performed according to his recommendation,” the statement said. “The City of Austin permitted and inspected such repairs to their satisfaction.”

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