Driver crashes into Salem gym; fitness classes continue in parking lot during construction

Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 10:40 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - A driver crashed his car into a gym in Salem Thursday, causing significant damage. No one was inside the building when the crash happened.

In exclusive surveillance video shared with WDBJ7, you can see the car being driven into E3 Fitness in Salem on West Main Street.

We’re told the driver lost consciousness on the road, and is in a hospital with injuries.

The incident happened Thursday, and the car is still in the building as of Monday afternoon.

The building’s owner explained the way the car crashed made the front of the building structurally unsound, and engineers now have to figure out a way to safely get the car out.

”Our building shook, the lights flickered, I heard it, like a bomb went off,” Mark Stoner said. “When I came over, I saw the gaping hole on the side of the building and I actually thought a bomb did go off; I didn’t realize it was a car.”

Even though no one is allowed inside the building, the owners of E3 Fitness will continue leading all their classes out in the parking lot. Jay Ezelle explained he’s grateful for all the community support they’ve received over the last few days.

”It’s going to take a lot more than a vehicle inside our building to stop us from doing what we’re supposed to be doing, and so we’re helping create a culture of people that want to continue getting better, healthier and fitter,” Ezelle said.

The building’s owner stopped charging rent to minimize business loss while construction takes place.

Damage estimates are more than $100,000. A GoFundMe for the gym can be found here.