Driver, 80, kills eight in market

A car driven by an elderly man ploughed through a crowded farmers' market in California yesterday, killing eight people including a two-year-old girl and injuring at least 35 others.

James Butts, the Santa Monica police chief, said that 14 of the injured were in a critical condition. He added that the tragedy was "the single most devastating scene I have seen".

The driver, who is in his 80s, was also injured and was being questioned by police, Mr Butts said. He was not identified.

Witnesses said victims were hurled through the air as the car, running down a street closed for the weekly market, smashed through stalls and boxes of produce.

"Sixty miles per hour and it wasn't slowing down. It was flying. And then people down, dead and everything," said David Lang, manager of a shoe store along the market route. "I heard a car just hit, bang, bang, bang," said Mojgan Pour, 38. "I heard people screaming. By the time I looked, I never even saw the car. I tried to help a man and he died while I was helping him."

The car was extensively damaged, with a smashed front end and windscreen.

David Allwas told a television station that the driver of the car looked like he might have been having a heart attack. "His arm was straight on the wheel and his body was stiff," Mr Allwas said.

He said he saw as many as 12 people bleeding and injured.

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