Auto Crashes Into Pharmacy

When a car crashed into the Santa Rosa Pharmacy in Camarillo, employee Margie Lear experienced deja vu .

The smell of rubber, the squeal of brakes and the crunch of wood were all familiar. She instantly recalled the last time a customer crashed into the store two years ago. And she knew what to do.

"I started running," Lear said.

Mary Samuels, 64, of Camarillo was uninjured after her foot slipped off the brakes and pushed the gas pedal Wednesday afternoon, causing her car to jump a curb and drive into the building.

Samuels' car left a nasty gash on the outside of the store and a crack on the inside. Several large iron mailboxes were knocked off their foundations and pushed into the building, which is located in a mini-mall on Santa Rosa Road. Damage was estimated at $3,000.

Pharmacy owner Jerry Pond, who was working in the back, said he thought it was a bomb.

It was the third time a customer had mistaken a gas pedal for a brake pedal and crashed into the store, Pond said. The first crash was in the early 1980s, said Pond, who wasn't the owner then. Two years ago, another driver "took out a metal pole and hit a woman" who suffered injuries, Pond said.

"What's really strange is that I'm the only store in the shopping center this has happened to," he said.

Pond said he is asking the mall's owner to put in a barrier to stop cars at the curb.

The incident was just one in a series of misfortunes that Pond has suffered since June.

"Other than people running into my business with an automobile, I've been burglarized three times," Pond said. "The burglaries have bothered me much more."

He said he's lost $4,400 in drugs and money and has had to buy a new alarm system.

The crash didn't stop customers from stepping around wreckage to buy their tickets in Wednesday's $3-million lottery. "People were curious about what was going on," Lear said.

Her own reaction was to ask to be stationed at a counter in the back of the pharmacy, she said.

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