Two people were transported to the hospital Friday afternoon after a car crashed through the wall at Linds in Freeland, according to fire officials from South Whidbey Fire/EMS.
At about 4 p.m., a Honda CR-V in the parking lot outside Payless Plaza jumped the curb and penetrated the wall between the front doors of Linds and Rite Aid, Deputy Fire Chief Mike Cotton said.
An 83-year-old man was the sole occupant of the vehicle and “had tried to move to a better parking spot when he inadvertently pushed the accelerator instead of the brake, causing significant damage to the store and his vehicle,” according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies found no evidence of impairment. An enforcement action is possible pending the completion of the investigation, the sheriff’s office reported.
An employee inside the store was transported to WhidbeyHealth Medical Center with minor injuries, Cotton said. The woman is on crutches and hopes to return to work this weekend, according to owner Ron Lind.
The driver had been standing outside the vehicle when fire officials arrived, but he was later transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Inside Linds, a display of colorful Fiestaware dishes was destroyed. Despite the hectic scene, Cotton said, many customers continued to shop until his arrival.
“For the most part, the store was still operating,” he said.
Lind said this isn’t the first time his business has been in a traffic incident. Previously, a burglar struck his Freeland location in a stolen car and fled with fake gold items.
It also happened once at the former Linds Pharmacy Coupeville location.
Lind has reinforced the entrance with a steel frame. He said he might do the same with the walls. Damage is still being estimated.
“It was pretty traumatic for the staff.” Lind said. “It was amazing. It looked like he hit that wall at 100 mph.”