COPY-UPDATE: Elderly man misses brakes in crash - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

COPY-UPDATE: Elderly man misses brakes in crash

An elderly driver told investigators he was trying to slow down but hit the accelerator instead of the brakes before smashing into a University of Wisconsin-Marathon County building, the police chief said Friday.

The driver, believed to be in his 80s, said he was trying to slow down for some traffic in the incident Thursday night, Police Chief Jeff Hardel said. The sports utility vehicle jumped over a curb and across a grassy area before plowing into the building. 

The driver was not hurt, and the crash temporarily halted a jazz concert that was taking place in a theater in the building.

According to Hardel, the driver was ticketed for inattentive driving and failure to wear a seat belt.

How much damage was done to the building was not known. A spokesman for UWMC did not immediately return a telephone message Friday. 

An SUV crashed through a UW-Marathon County building Thursday night after Wausau fire officials say the driver lost control.

The scene unfolded at the theater building where a jazz concert was underway. University leaders say about 250 people were inside the theater here when the vehicle came crashing into the building.

Officials say no one was hurt.

Lt. Chris Barber with Wausau Fire Department says the driver lost control, struck a light pole, crashed into the building, and landed about two feet inside the audio control room.

"I was sitting in the back of the theater on the right side and all of a sudden we heard a very large crash and everyone turned around and people are running out of the sound check room," said Anne Jagler, a student at UWMC.

Wausau fire officials say the theater was not impacted by the crash and the concert inside carried on.

"Everyone kept very calm, no one was panicking or anything," said Jagler.

Students and neighbors gathered to watch as a tow truck pulled out the SUV, leaving behind a gaping hole and broken glass.

"Other than the cosmetic part, structural is all ok at this time," said Lt. Barber.

Wausau fire officials say the crash did damage heat lines in the building but maintenance crews were able to isolate the leak.

Construction crews were on scene Thursday night cleaning up from the crash and boarding up the window.

Fire officials say the the driver was not hurt.

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