Driver, 87, crashes car into Rite Aid in Topsham

Posted Jan. 25, 2012, at 5:55 a.m.

TOPSHAM, Maine — An 87-year-old Topsham woman escaped injury after driving her car into the side of a Rite Aid pharmacy building on Monday afternoon.

Topsham Police Officer Troy Garrison was called to Ride Aid, at 77 Mallett Drive, at 2:37 p.m. Monday. Garrison said Helen Crowder, 87, a resident of The Highlands, reportedly struck the building while attempting to park her 2010 Toyota Corolla in front of the store.

When Crowder went to press on the brake pedal, she hit the gas instead, causing the vehicle to shoot forward up over the sidewalk and strike the side of the building facing Mallet Drive head-on, according to Garrison.

When Garrison arrived, the vehicle was parked in a parking space.

Garrison said the car pushed in the wall by between 1.5 and 2 feet. The impact knocked products inside the store onto the floor. Crowder was checked at the scene but was not injured, nor was anyone in the store.

Due to the structural damage the building incurred, Garrison said he called Topsham Fire Chief Brian Stockdale to assess the situation. The town’s codes enforcement officer Tom Lister also inspected the building, and Garrison said it was determined the store could stay open.

Crowder’s air bags did not deploy during the crash, and Garrison estimates her car sustained damage estimated at $200 to $300.

Garrison estimated the damage to the Rite Aid wall to be between $15,000 to $20,000. Crowder did have insurance, according to Garrison.

The Rite Aid manager called for Rite Aid maintenance to respond as well, Garrison said.

Possible charges are pending, Garrison said Monday.

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