LIVINGSTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A van slammed into an assisted living facility Thursday night in Essex County, trapping several passengers inside the vehicle.
Chopper 2 was over the scene when it happened just after 5 p.m. along Northfield Road in Livingston.
The facility is a group home for adults with special needs.
Fire officials said three of the adults were returning from an outing when their driver lost control of the van.
Joanne Zawadzki, who lives next door, didn’t realize what happened when she first heard the crash.
“I had just gotten off of a phone call and I heard a very, very loud boom,” she told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
“The van driver – it’s a special needs home – was pulling into the driveway, and apparently what she told the police officers is she lost the brakes in the van,” said Fire Chief Chris Mullin. “She was coming down the hill and rather than go direct on into the garage, she veered off to the left, went through the garage door, through the side wall, over about a three foot retaining wall.”
The fire chief said it was about 15 to 20 minutes before they could rescue the three wheelchair-bound people inside the van. All three and the driver were taken to an area hospital, but none had any serious injuries or broken bones.
It’s unclear whether the crash was caused by a mechanical failure or driver error.