UPDATE: Police are investigating a crash involving a van that hit the side of a Chattanooga motel just after 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. 

The crash at the InTown Suites off Lee Highway sent three drivers to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

"It was like a loud crash. It just sounded like stuff was falling," said InTown Suites resident Johnny McGahee. 

McGahee says he was studying when a gold van came barreling through the motel.

"As soon as I walk around the corner I see that big van and I'm like oh no they can't drive. They can't drive," recalled McGahee.

The Chattanooga Fire Department says another crash forced the van off the road and into two empty rooms. The van also hit an SUV parked outside the rooms. 

"There is so much damage right there in that one spot where the two walls come together," said Battalion Chief Dave Thompson.  

Some residents had to find another place to stay. Thompson says InTown Suites is finding them other rooms temporarily.

Twelve suites on the upper levels were evacuated because the crash caused structural issues. Crews worked for hours to ensure the roof didn't come crumbling down. 

"We basically put a wall in place on the inside and now we are having to do the same thing on the outside," said Thompson. 

The cause of the original crash that caused the van to run off the road is still unknown.

Residents of the motel say they hope drivers will be more careful so something like this doesn't happen again. 

"The safety should get better. People should pay more attention to what they're doing and that'll be it," said McGahee. 

For many, the extended stay is their permanent home. Some of those residents were able to move to other units and some are staying at other another motel.

Structural engineers will survey the damage on Thursday and give residents an estimate on when they can return home.

Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story. 


ORIGINAL STORY: Chattanooga police and firefighters are responding to a motel that’s been hit by a vehicle on Wednesday afternoon.

It happened shortly after 3:00 p.m. at InTown Suites on Lee Highway.

Chattanooga Fire Department spokesperson Lindsey Rogers says a crash on Lee Highway forced a gold van to run off the road and hit two empty rooms of the motel along with an SUV in the parking lot.

Rogers says residents in 12 rooms have been evacuated to a CARTA bus to keep them cool while crews respond.

Three people with non life-threatening injuries from the crash have been taken to a hospital.

Officials say more than two dozen firefighters are working to stabilize the motel to prevent further damage. Once the building is secure, crews will be able to remove the vehicles.

The Red Cross has been called to the scene to help the residents affected by the crash.

Channel 3 has a crew at the scene working to learn more.

Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.