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14 injured, four critically, after car crashes into Arlington building

Vehicle smashes into pub in the 2000 block of Wilson Boulevard

The scene at the 2000 block of Wilson Boulevard, where multiple people were injured after a vehicle crashed into a building and sparked a fire. (Aviva Loeb/The Washington Post)

Fourteen people were injured, four of them critically, Friday evening when a vehicle crashed into a building in the Court House area of Arlington, police said.

The crash occurred with a loud boom about 6:45 p.m. in the 2000 block of busy Wilson Boulevard, as the vehicle went through the front of a tavern, according to authorities and witnesses.

In addition to those critically injured at Ireland’s Four Courts pub, four others were taken to hospitals in non-life-threatening condition, the police said. Six other people were treated at the scene, according to police.

The crash ignited a fire, which was extinguished. Video circulating on social media showed people moving away hurriedly as flames shot from the front of the pub.

Fourteen people were injured Aug. 12 when a vehicle crashed into Ireland’s Four Courts pub in the Courthouse area of Arlington. (Video: Mira Hougen)

About 30 people were in the red-fronted pub, patrons as well as staff members, when server/bartender Mary Reilly heard what she described as a loud boom.

“We just heard this massive bang,” she said. “I’ve never heard anything like that.” She was in a part of the tavern away from the crash and did not see it. But she saw the immediate aftermath.

It included “dust and just debris coming forward,” she said.

As “pure panic broke out” she said, people rushed out the back.

“Everybody was shouting, ‘Get out, get out, go in the back, go in the back.’ ”

Another witness to the immediate aftermath appeared shaken.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” the person said. “It was like carnage.”

Witnesses reported that a group of people at one table were among the most seriously injured. According to accounts of people at the scene, bystanders helped to extricate the injured from amid the debris.

The cause of the crash could not immediately be learned. Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage released no details about it. However she said the driver was one of those taken to a hospital. The type of vehicle was not disclosed. It appeared that it remained inside the building Friday night.

Nancy Donnella, who said she was a co-owner of the building where the crash occurred, said she was told by people at the scene that the crash occurred head-on.

The building is at the intersection where North Courthouse Road joins Wilson Boulevard to make a T. Donnella said she was told the vehicle had apparently been northbound on Courthouse and “just ran right into it.”

That account could not be independently confirmed from police.

Savage said the building remained structurally sound. However, it was not clear when it would reopen.

Wilson Boulevard is a major east-west thoroughfare in Arlington. It is lined with high-rise office buildings and is a principal center of nightlife, as well, with many restaurants and taverns.

In a Twitter message, the pub asked that the injured be kept in thoughts and prayers.

It thanked first responders but added, “We are devastated.”

In a similar incident earlier this year in the District, two women died and at least nine other people were injured when the driver of a small SUV crashed into patrons outside a restaurant along Connecticut Avenue NW during lunch, according to D.C. police and fire officials.

This developing story has been updated.