One dead, one missing in garage collapses
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A portion of parking deck at a busy shopping mall collapsed Thursday, and a motorist who may have triggered the accident by crashing into the structure died, police said.The woman’s car crashed into the edge of the top level of the parking deck at SouthPark Mall, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spokeswoman Julie Hill said.A small portion of the three-tier deck then collapsed, and the driver’s car fell through the opening, Hill said.The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, said Mecklenburg EMS Agency spokesman Eric Morrison.Two cars under the collapsed concrete were destroyed, Charlotte Fire Department Capt. Rob Brisley said, but authorities said there were no other injuries.”I think it’s miraculous, quite honest,” Hill said.Officials are investigating the cause of the collapse.Lorraine Ayala, 63, of Monroe, said she left the mall to find the parking deck collapsed just above her ground-level parking space.”It makes you question the structure of these buildings,” Ayala said.Meanwhile, a parking garage under construction in Jacksonville, Fla., partially collapsed Thursday, injuring about two dozen people, officials said.One person was missing, but police did not know if the worker was trapped or had escaped. Search crews with dogs were looking through the rubble.Misty Skipper, a spokeswoman for Mayor John Peyton, said early searches had turned up nothing, but they would continue until searchers were certain that nobody was trapped.Twelve men and one woman were transported to Shands Jacksonville, hospital spokeswoman Kelly Brockmeir said. Two were in serious condition, 10 were in good condition and one was in fair condition. Some of those in good condition have left the hospital.Susan Barrow, a spokeswoman for Baptist Medical Center, said they had three patients, but two have been released and the other is in good condition. St. Vincent’s Medical Center spokesman Erik Kaldor said it also received three injured workers; one was admitted in fair condition, another was treated and released and a third was still being evaluated.Other workers were treated at the scene.The collapse occurred as workers were pouring concrete on the sixth floor of the garage for a condominium complex that is located across the street from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.”I heard a crack, and then it just crumbled,” Rick Caldwell, a construction worker, told The Florida Times-Union.The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating the collapse.—Associated Press writer Ron Word in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this report.