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Students injured after car strikes Baltimore school

A Jeep struck a school building Friday morning, at Barclay Elementary/Middle School. Six people were injured, including five children. All non-life threatening injuries. (Baltimore Sun video)

An out-of-control Jeep crashed into a Baltimore school Friday morning, injuring five students who were in the middle of music class, city officials said.

The incident occurred before 11 a.m. at Barclay Elementary/Middle School in the 2900 block of Barclay St. in the Abell neighborhood. The sixth-grade students were taken to an area hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

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Fire department spokeswoman Blair Skinner said the driver, who was "suffering a medical emergency,” also was taken to the hospital. Baltimore police are investigating the cause of the accident.

"We're very fortunate," Skinner said. "Had this been during recess or dismissal it could've been a lot worse."

The SUV struck the building at a corner classroom on the first floor, breaking through the brick beneath windows. Brick and debris was pushed into a classroom, mixing with textbooks and worksheets.

Four of the five students had been released by early Friday afternoon, city schools spokeswoman Edie House-Foster said. The fifth student is expected to be released later in the day, she said.

“Our thoughts are with them and their families, and with the driver,” she said in a statement. “Counselors were at the school today to support students and staff members and will be available as needed next week for any who are experiencing anxiety as a result of today’s incident.”

Armani Saunders, 11, said she was in the middle of music class when she suddenly heard a loud boom.

“I thought someone threw a bomb in the school,” she said.

The sixth-grader said everyone started panicking when they saw that an SUV had crashed into the school.

“Debris was flying, the bricks were flying everywhere,” she said. “It was really scary.”

After hearing about the accident on the news, some parents came to pick up their children early from school.

Zakiya Carter said her mind jumped to “the worst” when she heard about the crash. She drove to the school immediately to make sure her sixth-grade daughter was OK.

“You picture something like out of a movie,” said Carter, 33. “I thought it was maybe a high-speed chase or something.”

Skinner initially said six students were injured, but she later amended that number to three students. A tweet from the fire department later said five students and one adult.

Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa also came to the scene. "I just wanted to come by and support the school and see what I could do," he said.

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Facilities staff found no structural problems with the building, House-Foster said.

“Staff will continue to work over the weekend to make sure that the building is ready and safe for students on Monday,” she said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Ian Duncan contributed to this story.

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