A driver being pursued by Havelock police lost control and crashed into the Mr. Carpet building Wednesday morning in Havelock.
The driver, Sarah Nicole Kronenberg, 29, of Havelock, was transported to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, where she was treated and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman. As of early Wednesday afternoon, Kronenberg was in the custody of Havelock police, facing multiple charges.
No one was inside Mr. Carpet when the Toyota Highlander crashed through the side of the building that faces Dogwood Street shortly before 10 a.m.
Johnathon Gurney was outside the nearby Highway 55 restaurant and saw police trying to catch up with the vehicle. Kronenberg was heading east on East Main Street, hit the raised median, crossed the two westbound lanes and slammed into the side of the building.
“She was weaving in and out of traffic,” Gurney said. “She was doing a good amount of speed. She hit that curb and popped into the air. She couldn’t gain control. There were four squad cars behind her.”
Tim Hardin, who runs Mr. Carpet, was outside and saw the crash happen.
“We were out front and I thought for sure that car was coming right at us,” he said. “Normally, we would be loading up on that side of the building, but for some reason, we were loading out front today. Thank God. That would have been a mess.”
Havelock Police Capt. David Bratton said police first noticed the vehicle when it made a wide turn on Belltown Road into oncoming traffic, crossing the double lines, in front of a police officer Gaylan Finney. Kronenberg was on a cell phone at the time, according to a release from the department.
Finney turned around, put on his blue lights and siren, and tried to catch up to the vehicle, which Bratton said was estimated to be going 45 to 50 mph and running through stop signs in the Woodhaven neighborhood.
Bratton said Finney lost track of the vehicle but then saw Kronenberg leave the neighborhood and head east on East Main Street. Bratton said Kronenberg hit speeds estimated at 65 to 70 mph as other officers tried to catch up. They were about 150 to 200 yards behind her vehicle when it left the road and hit the building, according to the release.
“She tried to make a left turn, hit the median and crashed into the building,” Bratton said.
Kronenberg faces multiple charges, including driving while impaired, failure to stop for blue light and siren, damage to property, and resist, obstruct and delay of a law enforcement officer.
Damage to the building was significant, with the car hitting the side of the building and then breaking through a side garage door. Pieces of the car and building were scattered about the area where various carpet is stored.
The Highlander had significant front-end damage, and one of the tires was flat. The airbag did deploy. As police searched the vehicle, they pulled two child car seats out, but the driver was the lone person in the car at the time of the crash.