SUV inside Laundry mat

A Davenport firefighter looks over the scene of an SUV inside a coin-operated laundry Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at Hickory Grove Road and Fairmount Street in Davenport. (John Schultz / Quad-City Times)

John Schultz

Police are investigating why the driver of a Ford Expedition crashed through the front of a coin-operated laundry in northwest Davenport Sunday night.

As the sport-utility vehicle sat completely in the laundry portion of Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, 3636 Hickory Grove Road, Davenport, passers-bys and neighbors were discussing what happened when the vehicle drove through the building shortly before 8 p.m.

“He came up to the (curb) here, and he revved it,” said Robert Jaynes of Davenport. Jaynes, whose clothes were in a dryer when the incident happened, had gone out to his car to smoke a cigarette. “I saw the whole thing,” he said. “I had just opened the door for a lady and her son to leave.”

Jaynes said he heard a “Vroom, vroom, vroom” and saw the vehicle drive directly into the building.

Just a few minutes before, he said, children had been near the washers and dryers.

Linda Almanza of Davenport said the driver speaks Spanish and is the father of her grandchildren. “He called me because he has a language problem,” she said. “All he told me was that the engine seemed to jump, and he went right through.”

She said the driver’s children are 7 and 10 years old. “I’ve never seen a better dad in my life,” she said, adding that he is a careful driver. She comforted his son, who sobbed when he saw the wreckage. “Daddy’s OK,” she said as she put her arms around the little boy.

Jennifer Fellows of Davenport wondered where she could dry her laundry late Sunday night. She was in the building when the vehicle crashed through.

“All of a sudden, glass started flying,” she said. “ I saw one gentleman standing in front of a table — he jumped out of the way. I was impressed,” said Fellowes, who was sitting on a chair by the television about

6 feet from the door. “I’m just thankful everybody’s fine,” said Fellowes, a truck driver who was washing her clothes before an early morning run Monday.

Glass and other debris is scattered at the scene, where emergency workers continue to investigate and laundry attendants help remove loads of clothing, some of which was sopping wet.