PNNL

Former PNNL worker dies when car crashes into gym

A vehicle sits inside a health club after a motorist crashed through the doors, in Livermore, Calif., on Tuesday, killing a former employee of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.
A vehicle sits inside a health club after a motorist crashed through the doors, in Livermore, Calif., on Tuesday, killing a former employee of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. AP

A former employee of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland died when a car plowed through the doors of a Northern California health club, police said.

Kathy Baker started her career at PNNL, working as the project control, contract administrator and contracting officer from 1984 to 1995. At the time of her death she was the chief financial officer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

On Tuesday an 80-year-old driver accidentally hit the gas pedal as she was trying to park her Mercedes SUV, crashing through the health club's doors and into an early-morning workout class, Livermore police spokeswoman Traci Rebiejo said.

Baker died at a hospital, and five other people suffered cuts and bruises.

"This is a tragedy for her immediate family as well as her lab family. Kathy was a special person and a valued member of our laboratory. It is hard to put into words just how much she will be missed," Livermore lab director Bill Goldstein said.

The driver, who was not identified, was not arrested or cited, and alcohol and drugs were not a factor, authorities said. A police report of the crash will be sent to prosecutors to determine if the woman should face criminal charges.

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