An out-of-control vehicle ran into multiple people in the parking lot of Watson Arena and crashed into the University of Southern Maine (USM) team bus after the Bowdoin men’s hockey game against USM on Tuesday. No Bowdoin students, faculty or staff were involved in the incident.

The incident occurred at 9:06 p.m. directly outside of the entrance to the arena. The car was operated by a 90 year-old man from Topsham who had attended the game. He reversed his vehicle, a Subaru Forrester, at a high speed from a handicap spot in an arc through the crosswalk, running into several people who were crossing the parking lot. The vehicle then crashed into the front of the USM bus, knocking the front bumper off. The bus was running, but unoccupied. The vehicle continued to move after hitting the bus and came to stop on the sidewalk in front of the arena. 

Brunswick police and an ambulance responded to the incident and were on the scene within minutes.

Only one person was hospitalized as a result of the incident—a 15 year-old girl from Georgetown, Maine. She was walking in the crosswalk with her parents when the vehicle ran into them, running over her leg and knocking her mother down. The girl was able to get up and walk away from the crosswalk but suffered a broken ankle and an injured knee. She was transported to Mid Coast Hospital by an ambulance and returned home that same night. 

“We’ve been in touch with the girl. She was released that evening and she’s doing fine,” said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.

A number of other people leaving the game were knocked down, either by the vehicle itself or in an effort to get out of the way, but no one else required hospitalization.

Nichols said that he is thankful that the injuries were not more serious.

“We were very fortunate in many ways here that there weren’t more serious injuries and the fact that the bus was parked where it was may have prevented that vehicle from going into the lobby area because it was kind of headed that direction,” Nichols said. “So the bus actually I think protected people.”

Two Bowdoin security officers were inside the lobby of the arena when the incident occurred. They heard the commotion and were on the scene within a few seconds. One of the officers immediately checked on an elderly woman who had fallen down while the other went to the vehicle and then to the 15 year-old girl. 

The doors of the vehicle were locked, but the officer was able to gain access and turn off the ignition after a few seconds. The airbags had been deployed, but the driver was unharmed.

“The man was stunned by what had occurred. He clearly didn’t know what had happened. But he was not seriously hurt,” Nichols said. 

An ambulance was parked right behind the USM bus when the incident occurred. The ambulance crew was inside the arena supplying medical treatment for a USM hockey player at the time, treating an illness that was unrelated to the incident and had precluded him from playing in the game. One member of this ambulance crew came out to check on the injured girl, but another ambulance was called and transported her to the hospital.

The USM bus was operable after the accident and was driven back to Portland that night. The Subaru sustained significant damage to the driver’s side where it collided with the bus. No other vehicles sustained any damage. 

The Brunswick Police Department is following up on the incident, but no charges have been filed. It is unclear what exactly caused the man to lose control of the vehicle.