Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Woman, 88, crashes car into building


An 88-year-old woman plowed a 100-yard path of destruction yesterday after she rammed her car through a parking gate, jumped a curb into a flower bed, took out a light pole, grazed an oak tree and proceeded to cross Bath Street where she crashed into the front lobby of Santa Barbara Dental Clinic.
The string of collisions occurred at 12:30 p.m. on the 2000 block of Bath Street between Nogales and Quinto streets — an area that sees a high volume of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Santa Barbara Fire Capt. Don Sturtevant said it was extremely lucky that not a single person was injured, although the driver was taken by wheelchair one block to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital to be evaluated. He estimated the car was traveling 40 mph when it struck the building.
When he contacted the woman, Sturtevant said she asked him what had happened.
A man who asked to remain anonymous said the 1991 white Honda Accord nearly struck him as he was exiting his vehicle.
“I ran to get out of the way,” the man said. “It was flying. It was going really fast. It made me fly.”
The man said he took cover behind an oak tree and watched the small car jump a series of 1-foot-high curbs that terraced a flower bed before the vehicle struck the building.
Dr. Joseph Weber, who has an office inside the dental clinic, said cabinets flew open, computer screens fell over, and the entire building shook when the collision occurred.
“It definitely rocked the foundation of the structure, that’s for sure,” he said.
Weber said he was the first to make contact with the woman, who appeared calm and safe.
“She said she couldn’t get her foot off the gas,” he said.
Weber said the woman had just visited a cardiologist.
It appeared the woman began her trek in a Cottage Health System-owned parking lot at the top of a slight hill on the east side of Bath Street. After breaking through the black- and white-striped parking gate, the vehicle took a sharp left, jumping a curb into a flower bed and hitting a green light pole.
From there, a Santa Barbara Police officer said the car began spewing radiator fluid onto the ground as it pulled a series of electrical wires down the hill, crossed a sidewalk, hit a tree, veered into the street, and then crossed another sidewalk before smashing into the lobby.
Weber said shards of glass flew into the lobby, which was unoccupied when the incident occurred.
Sturtevant said he didn’t think the woman would be cited for the collision. He said a building inspector was scheduled to determine whether or not the building was safe enough to continue using while repairs are made.
Chris Seaton, an employee at the dental clinic, said she was able to see the car approach and collide with the building.
“We just looked up and there was this car driving into the building,” she said. “Nobody was hurt - that’s the good thing.”


MiltinSB said...

Not sure what warrants being 'cited' for a collision. I do hope they lift her license before she kills someone. This could have been a disaster.

Anonymous said...

I'm flabbergasted that they didn't cite her! Is she related to a cop or something? She needs to have her license revoked.