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It Was Too Quiet : Truck in Collision Bursts Through Window of Office in Santa Ana

Times Staff Writer

Terry Costa was enjoying a quiet Tuesday morning as he sat down to type a letter to his 80-year-old mother, encouraging her to slow down and take care of herself.

It was 9 a.m. at the Santa Ana Restaurant Equipment Co. at 2520 S. Fairview St., which Costa owns. The Santa Ana businessman was pecking away at an electric typewriter, wondering how long the lull in activity would last.

“I just sat down, and I heard this screech outside my window,” said Costa, 45. “I really did not think too much about it because we hear them all the time out on the street.”

But what Costa saw next made him think quickly. A pickup truck sliding on its side was bursting through the plate-glass window toward where Costa was sitting.

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“I saw the headlights and the front of the truck, and I knew it was not going to stop,” he said. “It looked strange moving on its side. I wanted to get away from the flying glass, so I got up and I tripped over a box as I ran away. I fell on the floor, and the truck crashed through the window.”

The truck stopped just a few feet from where Costa was working, leaving his desk and chair covered with glass and debris. Costa was unhurt.

Not the First Time

This was not the first time that this sort of thing had happened to the Santa Ana Restaurant Equipment Co. Before it moved to its Fairview location, a motorist had driven his car into the front of the building at a previous location. No one was inside when that happened, Costa said.

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According to Costa and other witnesses, the pickup and a car collided on Fairview, and the truck was knocked on its side, causing it to slide through the front of the business.

Stewart Gilbert, 36, of Santa Ana, the driver of the car, later said he was ticketed by police for an unsafe lane change.

He said he was trying to shift from the center lane to the left but did not see the pickup coming.

“The next thing I knew, we collided, and the collision caused (the pickup) to veer all the way across the street and into the building,” Gilbert said. “I was really surprised that he ended up going that far, because the collision didn’t seem all that strong.”

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Gilbert and the driver of the pickup, Eliseo Alvarez Manzano, 29, of Santa Ana, were not injured, police said. But a passenger in the pickup, Marixio Cortez, 56, was taken to Coastal Communities Hospital in Santa Ana with neck and back pains, police said.


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