Police say the car was traveling at a “tremendous amount of speed” before it struck the building, rolled over several times and caught fire.
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Mendez was trapped under his vehicle.
The crash smashed some glass doors and knocked bricks from the facade, but authorities say the building remains structurally sound.
The 10,000-seat arena hosts mostly minor league hockey and college hockey and basketball games. No events were scheduled on Thanksgiving Day and only a few security guards were inside.