Sparrows Point High School and Sparrows Point Middle School in Edgemere, MD, were closed last Wednesday after a driver crashed his SUV into the high school cafeteria, according to Baltimore County Police.

Jonathan Heil, 33, was driving his 1998 Ford Explorer north on North Point Road when he rear-ended a 2008 Kia Sportage, as far as an initial investigation can tell. The impact caused Heil to veer off the road and into the school.

The crash happened just before 9:30 Tuesday evening, so no one in the building was injured.

Fortunate Timing

When police arrived on the scene, they found the Explorer on its side. Heil was trapped in the car and needed to be rescued by fire crews. He was flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore for treatment and was released, according to hospital officials.

The driver of the Kia was not seriously injured, police said, making the event far less tragic than it could have been. “School officials said despite Heil’s serious injury in the crash, things could have been a whole lot worse,” a local NBC affiliate reported.

According to Statistic Brain numbers from 2012, there are about 25,580 fatal car crashes per year.

“Had this happened during the day, certainly there could have been a different outcome. We’re just thankful that it didn’t happen during the day,” schools spokesperson Mychael Dickerson said.

Damage Assessment

Most of the attention has now turned to repairing the property damage at the school.

A tarp was initially placed over the hole where the SUV smashed into the cafeteria, and plywood was put in place later. Skid marks are still visible where the vehicle slid across the lawn.

Although the cafeteria will need to be reconfigured, officials have declared the building safe.

A complete investigation by the Baltimore County Police Crash Team is pending. No charges have been filed yet, but that could change depending on the team’s findings.