Memphis police: Man dies after driving into building

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- One man was killed after driving into a building Tuesday morning, according to Memphis police.

It happened at Danny Thomas Boulevard and Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Avenue around 7:30 a.m.

Witnesses said he didn’t show any sign of slowing down before his car burst into flames.

"He never applied brakes," said witness Iris Knowles. "As fast as he drove past me is as fast as he hit that building, never stopped.”

Knowles said she was taking her kids to school when the driver behind her quickly accelerated going northbound on Danny Thomas Boulevard.

She said he veered into oncoming traffic and went across the curb.

"I said, 'Oh my God, he's in a hurry,' so he missed another vehicle, jumped the curb and I'm like stop, stop, stop.”

But the driver didn’t stop until his car crashed into this church. Firefighters say his car hit a gas meter, which caused it to go up in flames.

"When we arrived there was a fire on the vehicle, as well as the structure," said Lt. Wayne Cooke with the Memphis Fire Department.

Crews were able to get the fire under control in less than ten minutes and get the driver out of his car. Police identified him as 28-year-old Ricco Beard and said he was not able to communicate with them.

He was suffering from second and third degree burns before later dying at the hospital.

Witnesses are still in disbelief from seeing the crash happen.

"Never in my life," said Knowles. "I was shook up, screaming.”

It’s not clear what led the driver to lose control, but witnesses said he didn’t slow down through it all.

"It looked like he was in a hurry, he didn't touch the brakes at all once he hit the curb.”

Police said Beard was facing charges before he was pronounced dead. Police said he had a warrant out for his arrest, but nothing showed up when WREG tried checking the system.

Members of the church said they’re praying for his family.

No one else was said to be hurt in this incident.