Car crashes through Dancespace383 studio on Glebe Street

Four people, including two toddlers, were injured on Tuesday when a car ploughed through a popular Wollongong dance studio.

The Toyota Camry was parked at the front of Dancespace 383 on Glebe Street before it crashed through the building’s front glass window and through a double brick wall.

A 30-year-old woman was struck by the car and taken to Wollongong Hospital with a fractured leg. Her 18-month-old daughter was taken to hospital with suspected head injuries.

Another woman, aged 42, and a two-year-old child suffered minor injuries and were also taken to hospital.

A dance and creative play class for preschool-aged children and their parents had finished only minutes earlier, with people milling around the studio’s exit and outside the building when the incident occurred shortly after 11am.

Tom Law was standing near the studio’s front door with his grandson Tom, 4, planning to get some post-class snacks at a nearby cafe when he saw the car smash through the glass.

‘‘If it had happened three or four minutes earlier, the car, it doesn’t bear thinking about,’’ he said.

Andrew Hales said the group, including his son Jack, had been sitting in a circle for part of the class just metres away from where the car came to rest, harsh black tyre marks tracing its path across the studio floor.

He said he saw the car reverse, then go forward through building.

A worker at a nearby business said she heard car wheels spinning and then a loud crash.

She ran outside and soon found herself helping to calm down the children.

‘‘I saw there was kids screaming,’’ she said.

‘‘Everyone was panicking.’’

The 83-year-old driver of the car was well-known former ballroom dancer Ray Reeve, father of studio owner Donna Shingler. He was taken to hospital for mandatory blood and urine tests.

The only passenger in the car was his wife. Both were uninjured.

Donna’s husband Alan Shingler said his only concern was the welfare of the children and their parents.

‘‘Children are so precious and my thoughts are with the kids and their parents,’’ he said.

The Shinglers had only recently moved the studio to the Glebe Street premises.

Wollongong police Chief Inspector Ken McDonald said the Southern Region Crash Investigation Unit were investigating the cause of the crash.

‘‘The gentleman appears to have reversed out and then gone forward at speed through the window, across the floor and through the wall,’’ he said.

Glebe Street was closed between Kembla Street and Beatson Street for several hours while emergency services attended.

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