I-Team: Vehicles crashing into storefronts more common than one might think

Vehicles crashing into storefronts more common than one might think

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A West Michigan store has re-opened after a truck came crashing through the wall.

It happened at Scott's Country Store and Deli, in Kalamazoo County, on Wednesday.

Firefighters tell us a driver was leaving when her foot slipped off the brake, sending her truck smashing through the store.

Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Now, we're learning these crashes into storefronts happen more often than you might think.

The I-Team took a look at storefront crashes, and how to prevent them.

It was just three months ago when a car came speeding around a curve, slamming right into Geno's Pizza.

They're back open today, but the owner tells us they're getting ready to add a barrier that could prevent damage to her store and save lives.

When Debbie Galbreath heard about the crash at Scott's Country Store, she wasn't surprised.

"It is amazing how it happens," she said.

The same thing happened to her shop back in April.

"When we come down, all we see is sirens and lights and flashing and debris everywhere. It was like oh my gosh are you kidding me," Galbreath said. "The while north side of the building was just demolished."

Mark Wright, with the Storefront Safety Council, says crashes like this happen all the time.

"We estimate that there's 60 or so crashes a day around the country," he said.

That problem is evident right here in West Michigan.

A search of Newschannel 3 archives shows at least seven storefront crashes in the past two years, including this one at Little Caesars, on Westnedge, and a crash at Rose Auto Parts. Both happened in 2015.

"There are some metro areas that have had that number plus," Wright said.

The safety council estimates these crashes cause 4,000 injuries and 500 deaths per year.

"We were thankful we weren't open at the time because that would've just been horrible," Galbreath said.

Wright says there's a way to minimize the damage.

"Put up some kind of barrier, some kind of protection between the vehicles pointed towards your storefront and the buildings itself. Those barriers could be bollards," Wright said.

That's exactly what Galbreath is doing to protect her customers.

"Some type of cement barrier, but make it look like wrought-iron fencing, because now it's a health issue," she said.

The safety council says putting bollards or concrete barriers up can prevent cars from crashing right into your storefront.

They have them here at the gas station across the street from Geno's, and now Debbie says she'll have them soon too.

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