An Inverness shop assistant has described the heroic response of locals after a car crashed into a building.
Kayleigh Dewar was nearing the end of her shift at Merkinch Stores when she heard an “explosion” outside at about 9.10pm last night.
She described seeing the crashed Mercedes E220 in the side of the building, on the junction of Grant Street and Lochalsh Road, as “something out of a movie” and raced to help – fearing there could be children inside.
Around 20 other locals also came out of their homes to provide assistance.
A 43-year-old woman and three men aged 32, 38 and 42, were taken to Raigmore Hospital for treatment after being cut free by firefighters.
The three men suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries, while the woman was checked over and discharged.
Miss Dewar said: “It literally felt like an explosion. It felt like our building had jumped and gone up.
“We didn’t know what had happened. I walked out and saw what looked like a very horrific crash.
“I was scared. I thought that there might have been children in the car.
“I grabbed my phone and called the police, ambulance and fire brigade because the car was smoking.
“I went over to try and help. I felt it was what I needed to do, if that was my child in the car it is what I would want others to do to protect them.
“About 20 people came out of their homes to help. I think that’s definitely to do with the spirit and community here in Merkinch.
“The explosion sound was so big it sounded like something out of Die Hard and it looked like that too, like something out of a movie script.”
Miss Dewar said the outcome could have been far worse if pedestrians had been in the area.
“It’s all anybody has been talking about,” she said.
“It was crazy. It can be busy at that time of night with people coming into the shop for drink, or perhaps drunk people about but never this.
“It’s not something that happens every day and I just wonder what would have happened if somebody was walking past.
“It was scary and petrifying.”
Local man Nathan Thomson was in Merkinch Stores when the incident happened.
He said: “I was in the shop and we just heard this massive bang.
“When I came out of the shop the car had just bounced back and a lot of people were running over.
“It was like something you would see in a film.
“The whole front end was caved in and a heap of people ran over to help. It was encouraging to see so many people looking to help.
“The emergency services were really quick and arrived within minutes.
“It was all a bit mad.”
The building, which formerly served as a William Hill bookmakers shop, has been extensively damaged and engineers are currently on scene to assess the structure and make it safe.
Residents living above the unoccupied shop have been evacuated and arrangements have been made for temporary accommodation.
The road is to remain closed while work is carried out.
Police are now appealing for information to establish the circumstances leading to the crash.
Appeal for information following serious road crash on Grant Street, InvernessPolice in Inverness are appealing for…
Sergeant Kate Park said: “Inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the collision.
“I would ask anyone who may have witnessed the crash but has not yet spoken to police to come forward.
“I am particularly keen to speak to anyone who may have dash cam footage prior to the crash which could help with our investigation.”
Anybody with any information is urged to contact police on 101.