Crime & Justice

LAX back to normal after car crash gets confused for gunfire

File: LAX sign
File: LAX sign
Mark Luethi via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles International Airport is getting back to normal Saturday after a car crash caused delays, evacuations and confusion Friday night outside Terminal 5. LAX police sergeant Karla Ortiz says a woman driving on the lower arrivals level had a medical emergency around 7:30 p.m. when she slammed into another car, also hitting other objects and several other cars. 

"She collided with the curbside, a pillar and part of the parking structure. So each time she collided it caused a big bang, a big noise," Ortiz said.

Passengers thought the loud sounds were gunshots. At least a few hundred of them ran out of Terminal 5, and others were left scared and confused. Around the same time police evacuated the next building over, Terminal 4, after an anonymous call came in about a man with a gun. Police searched the terminal, but no gunman was found.

Kenzie Sapp of Indiana was one of the passengers at the airport; she spoke with NBC4.

"We landed and they knew it was like some kind of security issue," Sapp said, "so they had us at the gate but they wouldn't let us off the plane, but they didn't know what it was. So we didn't know until after we got off the plane that it was a car crash." 

The driver was the only person injured in the car crash. Police initially reported that she hit a pedestrian, but that was incorrect.

LAX officials estimate 4,600 arriving and departing passengers were delayed by the incidents. The confusion comes just three weeks after a gunman killed a TSA officer during a shooting spree at Terminal 3.