September 16, 2006 in City

Driver, 84, dies after striking cars, buildings

By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photo

Darrell Kendall of Inland Towing sweeps up broken glass and other debris after a Cadillac crashed into The Classy Rack thrift store at Sprague and Perrine on Friday morning.
(Full-size photo)

An 84-year-old woman died Friday after, according to witnesses, her car damaged two other vehicles and hit two buildings more than 200 yards apart.

Audrey Beyer was taken away in an ambulance, and officials at Deaconess Medical Center said later that she died.

At Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts at Sprague and Pines, witnesses say they heard something hit the store and the sound of squealing tires at about 10:30 a.m.

“I couldn’t see anything because the smoke was so bad,” said Valley resident Patti Potter, who ran outside the store in time to catch what she said was a glimpse of a Cadillac speeding west down the parking lot.

Tire tracks and witness accounts indicate the car pulled out of a space in front of the store and sideswiped Potter’s SUV while driving backward in an arc that ended when the Cadillac backed into a truck parked in front of the strip mall.

“I wasn’t on the sidewalk when I pulled in, but I am now,” Annette Drennen said, standing next her pickup with its front tires over the curb.

Police and witnesses say the Cadillac then sped forward through the lot, over speed bumps, across Perrine Road and straight into the side of The Classy Rack thrift store.

“She hit that with no braking at all,” said Spokane Valley police Sgt. Wes Eylar, one of several police, medical and fire officials piecing together what happened.

“It missed us probably by a foot,” said Terrilynne Sutton, who was working inside at the time.

The car came partially through the exterior cinderblock wall and also hit a wall perpendicular to it inside the building.

The shock threw around furniture and blew out a set of doors on the interior wall, Sutton said.

People inside rushed out to help Beyer after calling 911.

Witnesses said she appeared to be suffering from a medical condition unrelated to the crash.

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