WKYT - Lexington - Headlines

Driver charged after SUV slams into store

By: Gabriel Roxas Email
By: Gabriel Roxas Email

We have new information about the crash that sent an SUV crashing into a busy store in a Lexington shopping center. Early Thursday, we learned the driver of the Chevrolet Suburban, Whitney Lochmueller, faces DUI and wanton endangerment charges.

Lochmueller was driving when police say she first hit one car outside the Kohl's store in Hamburg Pavilion Wednesday afternoon. The SUV kept going, into the women's clothing department.

Lochmueller's two six-year-old siblings were inside the vehicle at the time but are fine. At last check, Lochmueller was in fair condition at U.K. Hospital.

Kohl's reopened at 8 a.m. Thursday.
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Some scary moments Wednesday afternoon at a Lexington store after an SUV crashed into the building.

It happened around 4 p.m. at the Kohl's at Hamburg Pavilion.

The SUV made it to the women's clothing department, before stopping.

The SUV's driver, Whitney Lochmueller, was in critical condition Wednesday night at UK Hospital. She had two young children in the SUV with her. They're doing ok.

The crash that caused the gaping hole through the brick wall of Kohl's store in Hamburg was the second collision after the driver of the Chevy Suburban first crashed head-on into Melissa and Rick McQueen's car. "It's undescribable," Melissa McQueen said, "It was scary enough being hit, and then just to watch them keep on, I've never seen that before. It was scary."

"An SUV started coming, drifting over the line into our lane. We stopped and honked, but they just kept going faster until they hit us, spun us around, and kept going until they hit into the building down there," Rick McQueen said.

The car landed in the women's clothing department where Patrick Donovan ran to find his daughters. Donovan and others were able to help the driver and her two six-year-old passengers. "He and I took knives, and people were moving things, and we start cutting the airbags open and gave her air to breathe," Donovan said.

"Just big dust of debris," Monica Donavan said, "and then the car came in, like my dad said, he ran up. My mom, sister, and I ran up. We got the kids."

"Our first reaction was to grab the kids," Monica's sister Mariel Donovan continued, "'cause we didn't know what was going to happen to the car, if it was going to do something else, or... just really scary."

One of those children was able to give the Donovans contact information, and family members quickly arrived. All three were taken to a nearby hospital, but it's still unclear what caused the crash. "It's a possibility it may have been a medical-related emergency," Lexington police officer R.D. Keaton said.

Once everyone was safe, the priority became removing the SUV as carefully as possible to avoid any further harm.

A spokesperson for Kohl's tells us they're grateful no customers or associates were injured in the crash. The store will reopen Thursday morning. They hope to have all the damage repaired within a week.


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