AUSTIN (KXAN) - A South Austin dealership is cleaning up after a car flipped onto a row of parked cars and damaged 16 of them Wednesday morning. The driver managed to get out the mangled car and run away.
The Austin Police Department said at a witness saw a Nissan Altima lose control around 1:30 a.m. on the access road of Interstate 35, just south of Ben White Boulevard and crash into the South Point Hyundai dealership.
The driver hit a light pole and then flipped onto the new cars.
"Nobody expects this and certainly is interesting," explained Mark Marek, the director of service and parts for the dealership. "To our knowledge, that no one was hurt, you know. Cars are replaceable; people aren't. We're just happy nothing more severe happened."
Police said witnesses reported the man in the car squeezed his way out and ran away. Alcohol was reportedly found inside the car, though investigators don't know if that's what caused the crash.
"To our knowledge, the driver hasn't been found. And it's lucky the driver could walk away from a catastrophic collision like this," said Marek.
Marek said the damaged cars were taken to their sister facility, Point Collision on St. Elmo Street. The cars will be inspected to see if they can be fixed. However, some will be totaled.
Marek said he believes the damage will cost a couple hundred thousand dollars.
"We always like to say we'll meet you at two in the morning," joked Marek, "but obviously, we didn't know this guy was coming."
The dealership said this isn't the first time for something like this to happen. Another car about a year ago came off the feeder road and damaged cars at its pre-owned department.
In-Depth: APD unit tracks leaving-scene crashes
The number of people leaving the scene of minor crashes is increasing in Austin, according to police. In fact, the department created a special unit just to deal with this type of case.
Officials say there were 9,500 reports of people leaving the scene of a minor crash in 2012, which is about 800 cases each month. Less than 300 of those have a viable lead.
The four detectives in the special unit are charged with chasing down leads for these cases.
Leaving the scene of a crash where the damage is more than $200.00, and failing to leave a note is a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000.00 in fines.
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