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SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — The investigation continues into what caused a man to crash his car into a Subway sandwich shop in Smithfield.
First responders rushed to the Apple Valley Mall on Putnam Pike Wednesday afternoon following reports of a car that had crashed through one of the storefronts.
Smithfield Deputy Fire Chief Steven Quattrini said first responders found the car inside the restaurant with two people pinned underneath it.
Police confirmed that one woman, identified Thursday as 47-year-old Charlotte Vacca, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver and four others were rushed to nearby hospitals.
Quattrini said both workers and customers were among the injured.
The cause of the crash is unknown, however, Quattrini said it appears the man behind the wheel was driving at a high rate of speed through the parking lot.
Joshua Piti tells 12 News he had just pulled into the parking lot and was minutes away from heading into the sandwich shop to start his shift.
“It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it,” he recalled. “I was just about to go in to work, so it could’ve been me.”
Bouquets of flowers and a note that reads “Please keep them all in your prayers” have been placed outside the Subway to honor the victims.
Vacca’s oldest daughter created a GoFundMe page to help cover her mother’s funeral expenses. Kaylei Perry Vacca described her mother as hard working and devoted.
The Woonsocket resident leaves behind five children and her elderly mother, as well as her boyfriend and his two children, according to Perry Vacca.
“She would give the shirt off her back to make sure our family was taken care of,” she wrote.
So far, the GoFundMe page has raised nearly $2,000.
The Subway and the neighboring Planet Fitness were significantly damaged in the crash. Both businesses will remain closed until further notice.
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