Bizarre attack by car takes place outside Puyallup mental health center

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PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A scary scene took place Friday at a Puyallup mental health center parking lot when, police say, a driver targeted employees heading to work.

A 30-year-old female driver went after three different employees, striking one of them with her car Friday morning, police said.

The attack outside the Good Samaritan Behavioral Heath appeared to be random, police said. They added that they don’t know if the driver was a client at the mental health facility but believe she was going through some type of mental breakdown during the bizarre assault.

Police said the attack stopped only after the woman lost control of her car and crashed into a pole.

“A woman was parked in her vehicle here. She backs out of a parking lot stall and begins to do circles,” Puyallup police spokesman Scott Engle said.

The driver at first tried to ram an employee driving into the parking lot of the mental health facility, police said, and when that failed,  she targeted another employee standing in the parking lot.

“Another staff member ends up in the parking lot island, where the suspect is now circling her with her vehicle in the parking lot,” Engle said.

That person escaped unhurt but a third employee could not get away.

“Pins her between her car and the parking lot island area. The suspect does a couple of circles around her, decides to jump the landscape median between the parking stalls and strikes that person,” Engle said.

The victim fell to the ground, and her purse landed about 25 feet away, he added.

But the attack was not over.

Police said the driver made another lap around the parking lot, trying to run over the victim again.

“She lost control and struck the traffic light pole,” Engle said.

“The employees here are pretty shook up,” MultiCare representative Marce Edwards said.

Edwards said quick-thinking employees calmed the suspect down, keeping her on the scene until police arrived.

“They behaved appropriately and heroically and we are really proud of how they were able to handle this crisis,” Edwards said.

Employees were so shaken up that the facility closed early.

The injured employee had "moderate" injuries, police said, and was expected to survive.

The suspect suffered minor injuries and did not need hospitalization, police said.

But she could be facing assault charges next week.