Three people were injured and 12 cars damaged this morning when a 1,500-pound wrecking ball snapped loose from a crane's cable on the campus of Allegheny College and rolled through downtown Meadville, Crawford County.
The wrecking ball, about 3 feet in diameter, was suspended from a crane that was demolishing part of the college's Pelletier Library.
Meadville Police Officer Brian Joseph said the crane operator tried unsuccessfully to stop the wrecking ball by placing bricks in front of it.
But the wrecking ball gained momentum as it rolled downhill from the college, traveling several blocks while bouncing like a pinball from curb to curb, causing damage each time. Officer Joseph said nine parked cars and one car on the street were damaged before the wrecking ball rammed into the rear of a car at a stoplight at Randolph Street.
That collision forced a chain reaction that damaged two other cars at the light.
Three people were being treated at local hospitals.
The wrecking ball traveled 3,600 feet, about 7/10s of a mile.
Officer Joseph said his investigation into the incident was complete except for "a whole lot of paper work."