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Driver caused chain reaction crash then fled

Rochester, N.Y. - One witness says it was like something out of an action movie.

"The car came flying across the parking lot," Steve Masetta said. "It was just fast."

Masetta had just unlocked the outside gate Monday morning to open his son's collision shop on Norton Street. when he had to jump out of the path of the red SUV.

The SUV crashed into a cement pole where he had just been standing.

"We can't figure out how he was going so fast in this short distance," Masetta said. "The motor was revving right to the board, it was going full blast."

Rochester Police said moments earlier, the driver had struck a red sedan as it was turning into a convenience store parking lot on Norton Street near North Clinton Avenue.

Rochester Police are looking for the driver of the SUV who fled the scene after causing that collision and a second crash just seconds later.

"We just heard a loud boom," Sonya Rigbee said.

Rigbee had been getting her children ready for daycare when she heard the sound and ran outside to find the car had crashed through the wooden fence into her house. The car came to a rest on its side.

"My husband ran to help," Rigbee said.

Dewey Rigbee said he saw that the driver was conscious and pulled her out through the window.

"Thank God nobody got hurt."

"Thank God she's alive. She's a lucky lady," said his wife.

The driver of the SUV never stopped. Instead, witnesses say he tried to round the corner.

"He's speeding and I see he was trying to turn, but I know he's not going to make the turn," Erbin Vega said. "The first thing that went through my mind is, 'This guy is going to hit me.'"

Vega says he was broadsided. The collision spun both vehicles around and sent the SUV into the cement pole at the collision shop. "I waited a few seconds to see if (the driver) was going to come out," he said. "He came out and he just started running."

Rochester Police call this an active investigation. They want to know who the driver was and why he fled the scene. He will likely be ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident.

The driver of the red car was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Vega said he suffered a stiff neck and cut to the head and planned to be checked out as well.

The Rigbees said when the fence was destroyed,  branches from a nearby tree fell onto their vehicle which was parked in the driveway. They were waiting for help from the landlord to remove the branches and assess the damage.

"Thank God she's alive; that was more important," Sonya Rigbee said. "Then I'll worry about our car."

Jane Flasch
13 WHAM News

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