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Woman who crashed into a garage Wednesday in Willmar said she was stepping on the brake

According to a previous news release from the Willmar Police Department, Kathy Peterson, 65, of New London, exited Walt’s Car Wash on the 1200 block of First Street South and proceeded to travel northbound across Roise Avenue, driving through several yards on the 1100 block of Third Street Southwest.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated based on corrected and additional information. The driver, in fact, told police at the scene that she had been stepping on the brake. Police later said sudden acceleration was a possible explanation for what happened.

WILLMAR — The New London woman who drove through several yards Wednesday said she was stepping on the brakes, according to Willmar Police Capt. Michael Anderson.

According to a previous news release from the Willmar Police Department, Kathy Peterson, 65, of New London, exited Walt’s Car Wash on the 1200 block of First Street South and proceeded to travel northbound across Roise Avenue, driving through several yards on the 1100 block of Third Street Southwest.

Peterson drove through two fences, hit a shed and eventually came to a stop after her vehicle struck an unoccupied garage.

"The scene and witness statements indicate she was stepping on the gas, which surprisingly happens quite frequently in crashes," Anderson wrote in an email. He later said, however, that it is possible her vehicle accelerated even though she was stepping on the brake.

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Peterson's vehicle model, a 2018 Subaru Forester, is currently named in at least two lawsuits that claim 2012-2018 Subaru Foresters, 2015-2019 Outbacks and Legacy sedans can suddenly accelerate.

Find more about the woman's experience during the crash here.

The incident was not caused by a medical issue nor alcohol or drugs, according to Anderson.

Peterson was transported to the Carris Health — Rice Memorial Hospital emergency room by ambulance as a precaution. No other injuries were reported.

Anderson wrote that he believed her injuries were minimal but didn't know her current health status.

While the woman's vehicle was drivable following the crash, there was damage along the driver side and front end, according to Anderson.

Anderson wrote that no charges were filed.

CentraCare Emergency Medical Services, the Kandiyohi County Rescue Squad and the Willmar Fire Department responded to the incident reported at 8:24 a.m. Wednesday.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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