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Driver plows through laundromat in apparent accident, injuring 6

NEW YORK -- Six people were rushed to the hospital after a sport-utility vehicle plowed into a laundromat on Staten Island Sunday morning.

CBS New York spoke exclusively with one of the victims of the crash.

Police say the 74-year-old driver may have mixed up the gas and brake pedals when his SUV slammed into a laundromat in Tottenville, Staten Island, just after 8 a.m. local time.

"We had this explosion and we see the car coming, but he was coming so fast, there was no time," said Zoraida Michelle of Tottenville.

Zoraida Michelle CBS New York

Michelle was inside the laundromat when the white SUV in came crashing in. The incident was captured on surveillance video.

The driver, who alone in his vehicle, gunned it in reverse -- shattering the storefront and getting most of the way inside.

Video shows customers struck, and washers and dryers sideswiped. And Michelle's daughter and father were not only hit -- they were temporarily trapped.

"Before I could grab my daughter, he pinned her and my father against the dryer," she said.

Michelle's 33-year-old daughter, Jaqueline, was the most seriously injured and remained hospitalized late Sunday.

"Her legs looked like they were twisted up," Michelle said. "I just held onto her hand until they came."

CBS New York also spoke to others who were inside the laundromat to witness the chaos that had people running for their lives. Some had no choice but to jump over a large table to get to safety.

Afterward, as the seemingly disoriented elderly driver attempted to get up and out of his SUV, a woman customer appeared to give him an open-handed slap to his face.

Witnesses said they heard the driver call it a horrible mistake.

"I asked him what happened. He said, 'I was in reverse and I hit the gas pedal,'" said witness Joshaphine Torlone. "So he probably panicked."

Now begins the process of installing the new heavy glass storefront for the laundromat. It is also in need of fixing or replacing are four washers, four dryers and a dented vending machine.

For Michelle, has her daughter and father to nurse back to health.

"He's got a broken ankle it's going to take some time for them to heal, but it's just a miracle that they're here," she said.

The injured people were all rushed to Staten Island University Hospital North.

Three of the injuries were believed to be serious but nonlife-threatening, while the remaining three are believed to be minor.

The collision remained under investigation late Sunday.

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