by: Dave Faherty Updated:
LENOIR, N.C. - A car has crashed Tuesday afternoon into the main firehouse in Lenoir on Harper Avenue.
Police said that the car hit the fire station following a chase. Officials said the car ran through the glass bay door of the fire station and hit a fire truck.
Police said they were trying to arrest Ryan Jeffries and Vanessa Snyder when they led police on the chase.
Jeffries was driving when they slammed into the fire station and is in critical condition, police said. No one was injured in the fire station.
The impact was so hard the convertible actually knocked the 30,000-pound fire truck several feet.
"We saw it coming toward the building and I told everyone. I said some poor choice of terminology and we jumped into the ready room. Still some of the wreckage debris still came into the ready room," said Deputy Chief Ken Hair with Lenoir Fire.
The high-speed pursuit started about two and half miles away along Hickory Boulevard near the intersection of McClain Drive. Police say it was part of an undercover drug operation in Lenoir when the driver took off. This mother saw the convertible go airborne before it hit the building.
"It is crazy. We were actually getting ready to visit with the kids to the family resource center. It is just insane," said mother Jonivel Anvino.
Both people inside the car were seriously injured, including one who had to be airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center. Channel 9 could see undercover narcotics officers search the car and remove items.
Several eyewitnesses questioned the department's decision to pursue the car into the downtown area.
"I don't think things like that need to be happening in an area like this during lunchtime where the streets are extremely narrow, and it just seem irresponsible," said witness Adrienne Shuford.
Eyewitness News asked the police chief about the pursuit, and he said his department does have a chase policy and he believes it was followed in this case. He will review the video from the patrol cars involved and analyze the witness interviews to make sure.
Officials said two people were injured in the accident. One person was airlifted to a hospital.