Car owner John Green of Deering, looks at his burned Toyota Corolla in the Home Depot parking lot in Manchester on Wednesday. His car traveled 30 feet in the parking lot - and no one was driving. Police suspect a defective car starter. (MIKE COUSINEAU/UNION LEADER)
File under unexplained start followed by a bad finish.
While John Green ran into the Home Depot store Wednesday afternoon, Green's parked car moved 30 feet without him — crashing into two vehicles and catching fire.
"The keys were in my pocket," the Deering man said. "Apparently, it took off on itself. Just as baffled as everyone else."
His 2003 Toyota Corolla wedged in between two pickup trucks. One left the scene; the other belonged to Mike and Jeanne Kline.
Mrs. Kline was sitting inside the white pickup truck while her husband went inside the store on March Avenue. She felt something hit the vehicle shortly before 1 p.m. and left the truck to check what happened.
"Did someone have a heart attack?" she asked. "I looked in there and nobody was in there."
Police officer Rob Harrington said he has handled a couple cases in his 29 years on the job when a remote starter was defective, but this car didn't have one. Harrington said an electrical problem may have caused a short circuit, prompting the vehicle to propel forward.
"They can be skeptical all they want, but it is what it is," Harrington said.
A call to Toyota public affairs office wasn't immediately returned.
Green said he didn't have insurance on the black car, which he bought from a friend.
"I was going to get a lot more out of it," said Green, who plans to write Toyota a letter.
"I'm glad nobody got hurt," Green said. "People aren't replaceable."
Jeanne Kline called the incident "a freak accident."
But her husband, Mike, cautioned her.
"I'd be reluctant to say it was a freak accident or an act of God because insurance doesn't cover that," he said.