As many as 15 people were injured when an elderly driver smashed her car into a Trader Joe’s in Oceanside, Long Island around 1pm on Friday.
Oceanside’s First Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Klein said the woman lost control of her car, crashing through the window of the store into the checkout area.
Klein said there were no fatalities but at least two were seriously injured. He told reporters that the scenario could have been much worse:
“It’s a miracle there were no fatalities,” Klein said. “The store was crowded, and she entered through the front, right where the cash registers are, where people were lined up. . . . It was the worst-case scenario where she hit them.”
— NewsBreaker (@NewsBreaker) December 6, 2013
— Honky Lips (@halo_five) December 6, 2013
— Carolyn Gusoff (@CarolynGusoff) December 6, 2013
Someone tried parking inside trader joes pic.twitter.com/GfFXVyjiwF
— Lex Pinkiert (@LPinkiert) December 6, 2013
Holy cow: Car just drove straight into Trader Joe's supermarket on Long Beach Road. pic.twitter.com/1cn5NN1o0J
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) December 6, 2013
Officials described the car’s driver as being around 80 years-old and very disoriented. According to Klein, she backed into three parked cars into the store’s parking lot before jumping a curb and crashing into the building itself, traveling 20 feet into the store before coming to rest.
It was a terrifying experience for the 40-some shoppers inside the store at the time of the accident.
“I saw a car just bang in, in front of the store and then saw people screaming, people on the floor,” a witness told 1010 WINS CBS New York.
“I was standing right in the area where the car hit,” said Maricel Baetiong of Island Park. “I heard a big, loud noise, and I saw the glass shattered.”
Just last month, a car struck the front of a Trader Joe’s in Westwood, NJ, pinning an employee between the vehicle and shopping cart racks. Cindy Vakarian, a registered nurse who was shopping at the store assisted at the scene of the accident and told reporters the employee’s leg was severed.
The driver of that car was estimated to be in her 70’s or 80’s.