Car crashes into Smyrna auto parts store

A gaping hole was left after a vehicle crashed into the side of the Advance Auto Parts store in Smyrna on Tuesday afternoon. Delaware State News/Craig Anderson

SMYRNA — The first two bangs sounded like a routine fender bender, he said.

The third one made him think a gas pump had exploded at the nearby Royal Farms.

Then an Advance Auto Parts employee rushed outside to see what exactly had happened.

An out-of-control Ford Taurus apparently hit three parked vehicles before slamming into the side of the auto parts store on U.S. 13 Tuesday afternoon.

Cleanup begins after a Ford Taurus crashed into the Advance Auto Parts store in Smyrna on Tuesday afternoon.

The employee, who identified himself only as “Mike,” said his truck was sideswiped and forced onto a cement guard rail about five feet away. A gaping hole was left in the store at 320 N. DuPont Boulevard, with shattered glass and vehicle parts scattered nearby.

“I saw the wall first and then noticed my truck and the car stuck in the side of the store,” Mike said.

No injuries were reported as Smyrna Police investigated after receiving a crash call at around 3:15 p.m. or so.

The unidentified elderly woman driving the careening Taurus exited the passenger’s side after the crash and appeared to be OK, observers said. She was transported to a local medical facility by the Smyrna American Legion Ambulance Service Station 64.

An air bag had inflated inside the Taurus, observers said, and a crumpled front end left the car disabled before it was towed from the scene.

Advance Auto Parts store manager Andy Sheppard wasn’t in the store when the crash happened, but took a call from an employee immediately afterward.

“(The employee) was actually very calm,” Mr. Sheppard said. “I think he was still trying to figure out if what he saw had just actually happened.”

This Ford Taurus was towed from the scene after crashing into the Advance Auto Parts store in Smyrna on Tuesday afternoon.

The company’s Disaster Response Team was en route to the store soon afterward, Mr. Sheppard said.

“Thankfully, we have a lot of stores and corporate headquarters has a good plan on how to handle these things,” Mr. Sheppard said.

Had he ever seen disaster like this before?

“Not in (the) retail (business), no,” Mr. Sheppard said.

According to the store manager, “I’m glad everyone was OK. That’s the important part.”

Mike was planning to call his insurance company about his damaged truck as soon as possible.

“There’s not a lot to say really,” he said as his vehicle was loaded onto a tow truck. “It’s Christmas time and now I’ve got no vehicle. Oh, well.

“I’m sure I’ll now be spending time on the phone figuring all the insurance out.”

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