Elderly driver crashes car into Habitat for Humanity Restore - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Elderly driver crashes car into Habitat for Humanity Restore

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

Tire marks cover the floor as employees restock the front shelves of the Habitat for Humanity Restore on North Lee Highway Wednesday after an accident temporarily shut the business down.

"It was just kind of pandemonium, it all happened so quick," explains employee, Phil Haynes.

Around 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, between 25 and 30 shoppers are scattered throughout the store. "We just had a rush, we had ten people at the front counter, everybody wanting to buy stuff," Haynes says.

Two friends had just finished shopping and were driving out of the parking lot but they never made it to the street. Instead, their car accelerated in reverse and crashed through the building, into the middle of the store.

Volunteer Ginger Kyler was was just inches away when it happened. "I just remember feeling the wind off the car on my leg," she says.

Luckily, no one was directly on the other side of the wall.

"The passenger was dazed, she was confused," explains Haynes.

Channel 3 spoke to the passenger, Francis Swafford, 79, she says she asked her best friend Betty Rutledge, 77, to drive. She accidentally put the car in reverse and panicked when she hit the building, pushing both the break and gas to the floor.

"The smoke alarms go off, I could smell the burning rubber," says Haynes.

Its a small setback for the store but employees and volunteers know it could have been much worse. "I thank God every day I didn't get hit by that car," Kyler says.

As for the people in the car they are ok and suffered only minor injuries. Swafford says God must have had his hand on them that day.

"I'm just happy they're ok. I don't know what happened, just happy they're ok and no one else was injured," Haynes says.

The store plans to re-open Wednesday.


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