Woman Hits Gas Instead of Brake, Crashes into Wall of Novato Target Store

Driver, 75, and 5-year-old passenger unhurt.

For the third time in two weeks, a vehicle has crashed into the front of a business in Novato.

Tuesday morning, a 75-year-old woman hit the gas pedal instead of the brake while in front of the store at shopping center and crashed into the wall of the store at 9:45 a.m., said.

The driver and a 5-year-old girl who were in the silver 2001 Mercedes 430 were not injured, according to Novato police Sgt. Eric Riddell. He said the driver was attempting to park her car in a disabled parking stall in front of the store when she hit the gas, plowed into three shopping carts, knocked down a large metal directional sign and then struck the wall.

The Mercedes had moderate front-end damage and was hauled away by a tow truck, Riddell said.

The crash was the latest in a recent series of car-into-business incidents. On Aug. 2, two vehicles collided at the intersection of Machin and De Long avenues in the Old Town area resulting in one car under construction. Nobody was seriously injured in that wreck, which involved two drivers who were uninsured.

The restaurant, a former Starbucks undergoing a transformation into a Chipotle Mexican Grill, had part of its eastern wall knocked down as a result of the crash. The restaurant was slated to open later this year.

On Aug. 5, an 84-year-old man later discovered to be driving under the influence of alcohol of the store on North Redwood Boulevard in Old Town. Glass shattered inside the store upon impact, but nobody was seriously hurt.

One of Novato’s most spectacular car-into-store crashes took place about five years ago when a woman in her 70s ended up in the cereal aisle of the store on Diablo Avenue after somehow threading her sedan through two automatic double doors. Several barrels of produce helped slow the car as it ended up rolling about 40 feet into the store. Nobody was injured in that crash.

Craig Knowlton August 17, 2011 at 02:20 AM
It's grey dawn http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s07e10-grey-dawn I tell ya.
LP August 17, 2011 at 02:25 AM
I don't believe the woman who crashed into Safeway due to a medical condition was that old at the time of the crash.
Ross Ingels August 17, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Add the cases listed above to the two recent crashes in San Rafael. In those an 84 year old woman drove into a music store at Northgate (http://sanrafael.patch.com/articles/senior-drives-car-into-storefront-at-northgate-mall) and a 94 year old man drove into the parking garage at an apartment complex (http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_18672164?IADID=Search-www.marinij.com-www.marinij.com). How old is too old to driver? Who decides? How often should we all be tested behind the wheel?
Dexter Kaziff August 17, 2011 at 03:41 AM
After age 65, drivers should be tested yearly. Driving is a privilege, not a right. CHP officers and street cops have more important things to do than worry about my grandma taking out a local Starbucks because she can't remember which is the gas and which is the brake.
Steven Norwin August 17, 2011 at 04:10 AM
65 is still pretty young to be considered to old to drive. I think it should depend on your driving record not your age. If you're 35 and are a bad driver due to accidents and tickets then I think you should be re tested on a yearly basis until you prove you are worthy to drive without yearly checks. Capibility, not age is the problem here!
Christian Hansen August 17, 2011 at 05:17 AM
Brent - I added a photo of the car that crashed into Target...I was RIGHT there!!
Stephanie McAffee August 17, 2011 at 06:49 PM
You're absolutely right Steven. I think you should send that excellent idea to our state lawmakers.


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