COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Echerer Painting Company has been in business since 1959.
For as long as the business has been open, the family business has never felt the need for a sign. However, after finally having one put out in front of their facility, the new sign on Broad River Road was destroyed early Tuesday morning.
“When we drove up, we were dumbfounded because there was literally a disaster in our front yard at our office and a note from the Columbia Police Department saying we know something happened here last night and we know you know that, but will you please look at the security footage that you have because we don’t have a clue?” said Larry Echerer, the president of Echerer Painting.
What Echerer found was unbelievable.
“We went in the security room, we watched the video… and we were floored,” he said.
The video showed a vehicle speeding out of control and heading toward the sign. The vehicle went airborne and crushed the new sign after landing on top of it. After landing, the vehicle rolled a short distance before coming to a stop.
“We could not believe it,” Echerer said. “We were like ‘Oh my God! Whoever is in this car didn’t make it.”
However, Echerer continued to watch the video, and to his surprise, two people managed to get out of the mangled vehicle.
“That’s great,” said Echerer, who was relieved that someone survived the crash. “And then, five minutes later, some of the smoke started to settle down. You could see the car. Another body started crawling out of the car.”
Echerer said they were happy to see that someone made it out of the vehicle alive. He noticed that one of the suspects videotaped the car and walked around it before calling for someone for a ride.
“I guess they’re fine,” Echerer said. “I guess one of them is fine. The cops were looking in the bushes for the other guy. They said, “We can’t find the first guy that got out of the car. We don’t know if he’s dead or alive or where he’s at. We don’t know.’”
Columbia Police are still searching for the suspects involved in this crash. Authorities also have not located the getaway vehicle.
The getaway vehicle is described as a red car with a Florida license tag.
Officials said the getaway car has not been listed as stolen.
If you have any information about this incident or the individuals involved, please call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIMESC.