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It’s not a drive-thru, but a motorist still plowed through a smoke shop in Fullerton

VIDEO | 01:17
Car plows through a smoke shop in Fullerton

Police arrested the driver for suspicion of driving under the influence.

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Surveillance video caught a driver crash straight through a smoke shop in Fullerton on Wednesday morning in an accident that police say was due to the motorist driving under the influence.

About 3 a.m., a white Mercedes-Benz pulled into the parking lot in front of Cobra Smoke Shop & Vape Store on Euclid Street. The driver seems to lose control of the vehicle as it accelerates into the glass storefront, through the store, and out the back, according to the video footage. Two individuals — the owner in the back of the store and a part-time worker at the cashier — were in the store at the time of the incident but were not injured, according to Fullerton police.

“In the video, you can see it seemed like she stopped and then she put her hands up and then the car just accelerated,” Seja Karim, 22, the manager of the family-owned smoke shop, said when describing the footage shot by a closed-circuit security camera. “I think she hit the gas instead of the brake and ran into the whole store.”

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The owner came out from the back of the store, thinking the car crash was part of a robbery scheme and someone from the car would start stealing inventory, Karim said.

Rapper 2 Chainz addressed his Miami car accident Monday on Instagram after being released from the hospital following the weekend crash.

Dec. 11, 2023

Fullerton police identified the sole occupant of the car as a 22-year-old woman from Santa Ana. Sgt. Ryan O’Neil, a Fullerton Police spokesperson, said the woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and taken to the Fullerton Police Department, where she was cited and released.

“The message we want to send is that during the holiday times, be safe and make good decisions when you go out drinking,” O’Neil said. “Line up a sober ride so you can get home safe to your family.”

As one of the few smoke shops in the area open 24/7, the shop is popular among customers even around midnight, Karim said. She said it was fortunate that no customers were in the store at the time of the car crash.

“Around that time, it gets pretty crowded, but thankfully, there was no one here at this store,” she said.

The car cleared the shelving cases but plowed into the “cigar room” where the shop keeps all of its cigars, some of which sell for $80 each, and a humidifier used to maintain a certain humidity level in the room. Karim estimates the loss to be over $100,000 from the cigar room alone.

Before workers had the chance to fix the gaping hole in the storefront, customers trickled into the smoke shop that same morning, stepping into the open-faced store to get their nicotine fix.

“We never closed,” she said. “We just cleaned up the area and got right back to business.”

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