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Car crashes through business storefront into desk where employee could have been

Car crashes through business storefront into desk where employee could have been
Emergency crews responded to the La Cañada Flintridge Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office Friday after an elderly woman lost control of her vehicle and crashed into the glass storefront. No injuries were reported. (Courtesy of Kathy Seuylemezian)

Monday morning found employees of La Cañada’s Coldwell Banker still in cleanup mode — after a senior citizen lost control of her vehicle Friday and drove through the business’s glass storefront — and feeling grateful no one got hurt in the incident.

Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies and members of Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the 600 block of Foothill Boulevard after receiving a call from an informant at around 3:55 p.m. Friday, according to Lt. Gary Harman, a watch commander with the station.

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“An elderly female driving on a suspended license lost control of her vehicle and crashed into the window,” Harman said Monday of the non-injury collision. “It caused significant damage to the business.”

Associate Manager Jo VonTiehl said she was working alone in the office when the car careened through the window and rammed into the reception area.

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“I just heard this thunderous roar — I thought it was an earthquake,” she said Monday. “Then I look out my door and see a car sitting in the reception area.”

An employee who would have normally been at the reception desk was attending a staff appreciation event at the time of the crash, VonTiehl said.

“It would have been horrific if she’d been sitting there,” she added.

An Infiniti G35, occupied by a 79-year-old driver and her friend, crashed into the La Cañada Coldwell Banker office Friday, hitting a reception desk that would have been occupied had an employee not attended a special event that day.
An Infiniti G35, occupied by a 79-year-old driver and her friend, crashed into the La Cañada Coldwell Banker office Friday, hitting a reception desk that would have been occupied had an employee not attended a special event that day. (Courtesy of Kathy Seuylemezian)

The Infiniti G35’s 79-year-old driver, and a friend who’d been in the passenger seat, exited the vehicle and remained on the scene while authorities checked them for possible injuries, according to VonTiehl, who said the driver seemed very alert throughout the process.

By Monday, most of the large pieces of glass had been disposed of and the storefront had been boarded up for safety. Lori Martinez, branch manager for Coldwell Banker’s La Cañada and Pasadena offices, responded to the scene and helped VonTiehl make cleanup arrangements through the corporate office.

It was a process Martinez became familiar with a little over a year ago, when a different driver crashed a car through the window of the Pasadena office after mistaking the gas pedal for the brake pedal.

Although employees worked late into the night Friday to secure the La Cañada location, they were relieved the damage was confined to the property.

“We’re just extremely grateful no one was injured — the stars were aligned,” Martinez said.

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