Eleven people were taken to local hospitals after a man driving a Porsche away from Saturday morning’s Cars and Coffee event at the Boise Spectrum careened into a crowd, creating a terrifying scene that caused onlookers to rush to help the victims.
“You could hear the skidding and crashing,” said Steve Vatcher, who was standing nearby with his son, Ean. “One body after another going flying up in the air, and shoes flying everywhere, and cellphones ... And after that it was sheer screaming.”
Ean Vatcher said he had just suggested that the pair move back into the Spectrum parking lot for a safer viewing spot before the accident.
The victims had serious but not critical injuries, said Boise Police Lt. Charles LeBar, and the driver of the sports car was not hurt. In a news release, police said that the investigation is ongoing and that it will be forwarded to the Ada County prosecutor for possible charges once completed.
Boise police spokeswoman Haley Williams said some of those injured were children. Despite rumors on social media that one of the victims had died, Williams said Sunday that there had been no deaths. She was not able to provide an updated condition for each of the victims, who have yet to be identified.
Tom Weekes, of Boise, attended the event with his 12-year-old son. “My son and I were the last two people he missed,” Weekes said. “There was a group of kids to the right of us and he hit every one of them.”
The crash happened shortly before 11 a.m. The driver’s name has not been released but he has been cooperating with police, they said. Witness accounts had suggested that the driver was ejected from the Porsche, but on video he is seen exiting the vehicle after it comes to rest on a sidewalk along Overland Road.
LeBar said witnesses told officers that as vehicles were leaving the parking lot where the event is held, the driver of the Porsche was among several who had turned right off Entertainment Avenue onto eastbound Overland Road and were “kind of showing off for the crowd.”
The driver then lost control “while going too fast,” LeBar said, and the Porsche sped sideways onto the sidewalk and grass, where onlookers were gathered.
Cars and Coffee has been a monthly event for the car-enthusiast community since April 2013, according to its Facebook page. In a statement to the Statesman, the organization said: “Speed, racing or any other types of driving are not part of the event. This accident occurred on a public road and was the driver’s sole decision. ... We do not condone exhibition of speed on any level on public roads.”
Justin King, a car enthusiast from Nashville, Tenn., said he ran to the scene from the Spectrum parking lot. He said a military medic who happened to be there was among those helping the injured.
“Most people that were hit, it looked like broken legs and that type of thing,” he said. “People were rendering aid pretty quickly.”
King said the event Saturday – the last one of the season, according to the Cars and Coffee Facebook page – drew about 400 or 500 vehicles, but only about half remained when the crash occurred. He said some participants were peeling out a little for spectators.
“People like to show off when they leave these events,” he said.
Police closed part of Overland on Saturday morning as they investigated the crash and as ambulances picked up the injured. Six people were taken to local hospitals via ambulance, LeBar said shortly before 1 p.m., and the rest were transported in private vehicles.
The Associated Press and Statesman reporter Nicole Blanchard contributed.