Austin police have spent the day looking for a man who witnesses say smashed his car into a south Austin car dealership.
It happened early this morning along the I-35 frontage road just south of the Ben White overpass.
The cleanup is done and despite all the damage the sales staff didn't miss a beat. In fact they got a little positive impact from the early morning crash.
It looked more like the back lot of a demolition derby than the front row of a new car dealership. Eighteen vehicles were smashed. Nine were literally torn apart.
The battering ram was a silver sedan that sat upside down on one of the damaged Hyundai. The car flew off the southbound frontage road of I-35 around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
"In my casual conversation with the investigating officer, he thought it could be speeds upward to 120 mph," said Mark Marek of South Point Hyundai.
As the parts and service manager at South Point Hyundai Marek says they will try to save some of the cars that were damaged. Others are a total loss.
All the damaged cars were moved off the lot by mid-morning.
"Some have some minor damage, and we'll polish those up, and get them to customers at a reduced rate as we can … but we have 300 new ones ready to go today," Marek.
The driver of the silver sedan survived. While witnesses saw him runoff toward Ben White and disappear, the car he left behind for a tow truck driver also provided a clear lead for police to follow.
This is not the first time a car has gone off the road and hit the dealership. It happened about two years ago, which is why Marek says these safety poles installed when a new entrance sign was recently put up. The Wednesday morning hit-and-run driver missed them all.
"Probably better for him … Kind of clipped through that way. Regret you didn't extend the poles all the way out a little bit more? Someone was asking if we were going to rethink our attitude about how we park cars on the frontage," Marek said.