Driver charged after SUV smashes into building in Campbell River

Driver ‘hit the gas instead of the brake,’ causing damage but no injuries

A vehicle smashed into the storefront of Willow Point Realty on Thursday morning. Photo by Todd Hahn

A vehicle smashed into a Campbell River office on Thursday, damaging the building but causing no injuries, and police say the driver is now facing a charge of “driving without care.”

Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk, a spokesperson for the Campbell River RCMP, said in an email that the driver wasn’t impaired and that the collision was “not intentional.”

“Charges under the Motor Vehicle Act were laid for driving without care,” Vlooswyk said.

Jennifer Kobayashi, owner of Willow Point Realty, thought her co-worker was making a racket when she heard the collision.

“It was just a tremendous crash – like shattering glass,” she said. “I was working in my office space and thinking, ‘What the heck is she doing up there.’”

When she saw what had happened, Kobayashi called 911 while a colleague helped the driver, she said.

“We got the vehicle turned off and put in park, and brought the driver into our office,” she said.

READ MORE: Driver airlifted to hospital following crash south of Campbell River

The driver was apparently pulling into a parking space when she hit the gas instead of the brake, Kobayashi said.

Firefighters from the No. 2 Fire Hall attended the scene, and the driver was already out of the vehicle when firefighters arrived, said Thomas Doherty, chief of the Campbell River Fire Department.

“They assessed the scene for fuel leaks and the building’s structural components along with assessing the patient until BC Ambulance arrived,” Doherty said.

He couldn’t confirm the cause of the incident but said that cases like these are more common than people think.

“A lot of the time it’s operator error, but in some circumstances it could be mechanical issues as well,” he said.

Shannon Miller, a spokesperson for the BC Emergency Health Service (BCEHS), said that an ambulance arrived at Willow Point Realty two minutes after BCEHS received an emergency call at 11:45 a.m.

“A patient was treated but not transported,” Miller said.

Campbell River resident Todd Hahn snapped a picture of the vehicle with its hood planted in the wall as he was heading to the gym on Thursday morning.

READ MORE: Police vehicle door torn off during stolen pickup takedown on the Island

In a Facebook message to the Mirror, Hahn said he didn’t witness the accident but watched from the treadmill at the gym as the car was towed.

The wall was soon boarded up with plywood and a restoration company was cleaning up, Kobayashi said. She expressed relief that nobody was injured or killed in the incident.

“Walls and cars and windows can be replaced,” said Kobayashi. “People certainly can’t be.”

@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Doug Hahn took the photo of the SUV that smashed into the realtor’s wall. In fact, the photograph was taken by Todd Hahn. The Mirror apologizes for the error.

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