November 16, 2010 in City

For this businessman, wreck scene is all too familiar

By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photo

Kevin Johnson, manager of the Army Surplus at Divison and Buckeye, had a little cleaning up to do after a semi-truck caring pet supplies slammed into the front doors of the business on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010 in Spokane, Wash. An automobile heading west on Buckeye ran a red light, forcing the truck to swerve to miss it, sending it careening into the 105-year-old building. Johnson said it was the third time the business has been hit in the same spot by a vehicle.
(Full-size photo)

Another drive-thru

Another local business, Idaho Lights in Coeur d’Alene, inadvertently became a drive-thru Tuesday when an SUV plowed into the showroom. The SUV was northbound on Highway 95 when it veered off to the right, drove through an empty lot, and crashed into the business. Police said the driver passed out due to an unknown medical condition. The driver and her two female passengers, ages 3 and 5, were taken to Kootenai Medical Center with minor injuries.

A local business owner may have better luck closing down his retail store and opening up a drive-thru instead.

A large truck crashed into the Army Surplus store on North Division Street and Buckeye Avenue around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The accident occurred when a car, westbound on East Foothills Drive/Buckeye Avenue, ran a red light, police said. The truck, southbound on Division, swerved to miss the car and plowed into the store’s entrance.

No one was seriously injured, but the business was maimed. The accident left a gaping hole and piles of glass, concrete and brick where the store’s entrance used to be.

The owner, David Arnold Sr., was hardly shocked; his store has been crashed into five times since 1997. In three of the accidents, vehicles drove into the storefront. In the other two, more minor incidents, the vehicles grazed the building after accidents in the intersection.

Like the other four times, Arnold just got right to work making repairs.

Luckily, he said, the store didn’t open until 9:30 a.m.

“If anyone had been there standing – a customer paying or anyone – it would have been deadly,” he said.

Division was all a two-way street before it was realigned in 1997. The realignment broke it up into a one-way going north on Ruby Street and a one-way going south on Division.

Arnold, who has owned the store since 1990, said no one crashed into it before the realignment.

“The accidents on this corner really increased,” he said. “This building is 100 years old. It had never been hit until they did that.”

He also said he thinks speed is a factor in some of the accidents.

“You’re coming down that hill, it’s hard to stay doing 30,” he said. “It’s bound to happen because of the speed.”

After the first two accidents, Arnold contacted both the city and the state to see if they would install a barrier on the corner where his business is.

After they said no, he spoke with city officials to see if they would issue him a permit allowing him to build a barrier on the small patch of land he owns in front of the store.

They said they probably wouldn’t, Arnold said, but after this latest accident, he plans on giving it another shot.

If they won’t issue him a permit, he said he may just build the barrier anyway.

“I’ve already got a contractor,” he said.

Because of uninsured drivers, Arnold got stuck with the bill after past accidents. He has little faith this time will turn out different.

“This time, apparently both vehicles have insurance, but … I just assume I’m going to fix it,” he said.

Arnold said this accident caused more damage than the others. While he still needs to have the damage appraised, he guessed it could cost him $40,000 or more.

“I don’t want to play the victim. It’s just that it’s frustrating.”

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