Police: Biddeford man, 77, “lucky” after vehicle crashes into busy Saco supermarket

Posted July 03, 2012, at 11:04 a.m.

SACO, Maine — Rush-hour shoppers and a Biddeford man were fortunate to escape injury Monday afternoon when the elderly man’s vehicle crashed into a supermarket entrance, police said.

Phillip Bender, 77, was heading home after completing his grocery shopping at Shaw’s Supermarket at the Saco Valley Shopping Center when the accident occurred at 4:45 p.m., according to Saco police Sgt. Christopher Hardiman.

Hardiman said Bender was “parked in a handicap spot in front of the store” and struck a vehicle parked in front of him when he tried to pull out of his spot.

Bender then veered sharply to the right, traveled a short distance across the parking lot and smashed through two doors that Hardiman said were located about 10-15 feet from the nearest checkout line.

Bender’s 2003 Ford Focus, which suffered $3,000 in damage, came to rest in a small lobby, and Hardiman said police were fortunate no pedestrians or shoppers were hit.

“The store was very busy in the parking lot and the store,” he said. “We were very lucky that he didn’t hit any pedestrians.”

The sergeant said Bender was alone in the vehicle.

Bender had to be extricated by Saco fire personnel. He was examined by paramedics at the scene, was cleared and was driven home by a friend.

The store entrance suffered several thousand dollars in damage, Hardiman said. The accident remains under investigation, but it’s unlikely Bender will face charges.

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