UPDATE: Woman Won’t Answer Questions After Crashing SUV Into School

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WILKES-BARRE -- Police say one woman is recovering from an injured leg after her SUV plowed right through an elementary school in Luzerne County.

Officials said the crash happened at Heights-Murray Elementary School along South Sherman Street around 3:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Skid marks indicate that the SUV likely drove up East Market Street, jumped two curbs, and sped several hundred feet down a sidewalk before slamming into the school.

The SUV plowed right through the wall and ended up in the gymnasium, shoving a section of folding bleachers across the floor.

Administrators reviewed blurry surveillance video that showed this crash happening around 3:15 a.m., but workers didn't discover the wreck until about 6 a.m.

The woman behind the wheel was trapped for about three hours. She was rushed to Geisinger Wyoming Valley with serious injuries.

"This happened earlier in the morning. There were no students in the building at the time and we thank God for that," said school Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak.

Hundreds of students at Heights-Murray Elementary School reported to class on time Wednesday morning.

Police identified the driver as Maria Panetta and said she was not cooperating with the investigation.

Some parents told Newswatch 16 that they were surprised that school opened as scheduled.

"If the children were there, it would have went right into the kids because the bleachers is right there. They could have been running around, playing around, they could have got hit. I’m glad none of that happened," said Margarita Felton. "Kids eat there and play there, so this is real. I don’t even know why they have school open today to be honest with you."

First responders said weather was not a factor in the crash.


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