4 kids hurt in crash at Ind. day care center

Image: Suspect in police custody.
One suspect was in custody after a vehicle fleeing from officers crashed into a day care facility in Indianapolis, police said.NBC News
/ Source: The Associated Press

A sport utility vehicle fleeing police officers crashed into a day care center Thursday, injuring four children and an employee, police said.

About 18 children were inside the Stepping Stones Child Care when the red SUV slammed into the brick building on the city's north side around 12:15 p.m., Lt. Jeff Duhamell said.

Kara Hardister, who runs the day care, said the crash sent bricks flying into a room for 3-year-olds just before their nap time.

One of the four children was in critical at Methodist Hospital, while the other three had non-life-threatening injuries, Duhamell said. A woman working at the day care center suffered a broken leg when she was struck by bricks, and another person was injured when the SUV hit a car during the police chase. Duhamell said those injuries weren't serious.

He said police arrested two people in the SUV, one of whom required stitches to a hand.

'So scared'
Officers were chasing the SUV following an armed robbery at a nearby Family Dollar store when the crash occurred, Duhamell said.

Tenants in a nearby building said the crash sounded like gunfire. The SUV remained lodged in the side of the day care more than an hour later.

Whittney Rutland said she raced to the day care center to check on her 3-year-old son, Armohni Preswood, after hearing about the crash. She ran through the police tape and found out that her son was safe and had been taken to another day care nearby.

"I ran through there and stuff was dropping out of my purse," she said. "I was so scared."

'Utter chaos'
"It was utter chaos," building tenant Leon Calderon told WTHR.com, an NBC News affiliate in Indianapolis. "They heard a big boom, they thought it was a gun went off or something."

The vehicle caught fire once it crashed into the building, police said.

Hardister said 40 to 45 children are typically in the building midday, but about two dozen were on a field trip at Disney on Ice at Conseco Fieldhouse when the accident occurred.

"It's just senseless, just senseless, that innocent people have to go through this," she said.