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4 Dead After Car Plunges Off Deck

September 25, 2000

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) _ A car crashed through the concrete-block wall of an oceanfront motel garage and plunged 41 feet to the ground, landing upside down and killing the four women inside.

No one on the ground was hurt Sunday, although the car landed on a beach access path just yards from a small amusement park.

``That’s the real miracle, being that this was a nice, hot, sunny day during the Neptune Festival with thousands of people on the beach,″ said police spokesman Don Rimer.

The victims were vacationing nurses from St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City.

``They were long-term employees. It’s been a devastating loss for the hospital,″ hospital spokeswoman Bernadette Kingham said.

The cause of the accident remained under investigation. Rimer said there were no signs of skid marks to indicate that the driver tried to stop.

Rimer said the women had just driven into the garage. ``They came up the ramp and made a left turn . . . and then went right through the wall,″ which is about 3 feet high.

Witnesses said they heard the car’s engine revving just before it crashed through the wall.

``It sounded like somebody might have tried to put the brakes on, but their foot slipped off and hit the accelerator instead,″ said George Angelis. ``I looked up and saw the blocks coming down. It was kind of like slow motion as it flipped off of the ramp.″

Rimer identified the victims as driver Joan Ellen Walsh, 56; Mary Ann Going, 60; Kathleen M. Mollick, 63; Mary Ann Dono, 60, all of New York City.

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