November 27, 2014

Elyria
Flurries
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Elderly driver plows into shopping plaza

AVON LAKE — Helen Garbash could only watch helplessly Tuesday afternoon as an elderly man pulled out of a parking spot in front of her eatery and plowed through two pillars on the front of her building, crashing to a halt on a tree trunk some 30 feet away.

“With all the smoke and screeching, I went running out. I thought the car was on fire,” said Garbash, manager at Mr. Hero at the Landings Shopping Center on Walker Road.

The white Mercury’s jammed accelerator kept the wheels spinning, charring a 3-foot spot on the pavement in front of the Mammy Hand restaurant, she said. An airbag deployed, but not before the driver’s head smashed into the windshield.

BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE
An Avon Lake police officer looks at the wreckage of a car at the Landings Shopping Center on Walker Road in Avon Lake on Tuesday.

Garbash ran through the smoke and opened the car door, finding the driver barely conscious and with what appeared to be a broken arm.

She did not move the man because she feared she would further injure him, she said.

Carol Wood, an employee at Mr. Hero, said he was bleeding from his skull and nose. She called 911.

Police did not release the driver’s name or age. He was taken by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

Workers from Kopf Builders, which owns the plaza, were making repairs within a half-hour of the crash. Dale Stefan, superintendent for Kopf Builders, said the entire walkway overhang in front of Mammy Hand would have to be replaced.

Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.