News - November 3, 2010

Car crashes through window, traps cashier

by Dave Boyce

Medics took a cashier from Avanti Pizza at 3536 Alameda de las Pulgas in West Menlo Park to Stanford Hospital on Monday afternoon after a car crashed through a plate-glass window and well into the restaurant, entangling the young woman in counter equipment that had rolled on top of her, Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District said.

The 911 call came in at 1:59 p.m. and elicited an immediate response from firefighters and medics at the fire station on Valparaiso Ave. a few blocks away.

The first order of business was backing the vehicle out to take the pressure off the counter structure and the victim, the chief said.

The victim, identified as a 26-year-old Newark woman by the CHP, was talking and conscious during the 10 to 15 minutes it took to disentangle her and get her into an ambulance, Chief Schapelhouman said.

The driver was identified as an 80-year-old Atherton woman who had been trying to park when she for some reason hit the accelerator and crashed through the front window, CHP Officer Curtis Glace said. The driver was not hurt, he said.

The laundry next door suffered collateral flooding damage in that the crashing ruptured a water pipe that served the entire strip mall. The water is off for all the retailers there, the chief said.

Given the damage to the counter, plumbing, electrical fixtures and the gas cylinders, Avanti will likely need a building permit and a building inspector's permission before reopening, the chief said. "I don't believe they will be able to open very quickly."

The damage in many of these incidents tends to be limited to the front doors and windows, he noted. "This one was truly and legitimately one of those unfortunate situations when there was injury." Had it happened during lunchtime, he added, "it would have been a much more chaotic and catastrophic situation."

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.


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